The Official Charts aren't just a list any more: they're a place to stream content and connect brands and artists. We explore how a redesign by Electric Mustard is helping the company enter this new era.
The time when the weekly TV show Top of the Pops, which counted down the best-selling singles, was the talk of every schoolyard is now long gone. But the Top 40, now centred around streaming, still matters. And Official Charts – the producers of the UK's Official Singles Chart as heard on BBC Radio 1 – are determined to ensure that remains the case.
That's why, with a keen eye on Gen Z, they've just launched a new brand identity and digital consumer platform, OfficialCharts.com. The rebrand was undertaken by design agency Electric Mustard and features digital-first colours and a bolder, more impactful font.
It marks the latest stage of the Official Charts' evolution as a consumer media brand, bridging the gap between chart websites and contemporary streaming platforms and offering brands and advertisers a way to meaningfully connect with music fans.
Hitting the sweet spot
The brand now boasts an updated colour palette of cobalt blue, pink and off-white. A suite of fun, brightly-coloured digital stickers and emojis, contrasted with a warm off-white base – a nod to the chart's heritage and resurgence of physical music formats – helps to position the brand in its target sweet spot of 'Gen Z with a hint of nostalgia'.
The signature "arrows and 1" icon has also been updated. The previous design, devised in 2011 by London-based Give UP Art and well-received at the time, featured an upward and downward arrow with a secret Number 1 at its heart. The new logo now hollows out the Number 1 – as not everyone previously spotted it – and rotates it to align with the now-iconic Number 1 Award.
Recognised by more than 40% of the UK's 18-24s, the Number 1 Award was introduced just over a decade ago and has since been presented to more than 300 music stars since, from Ed Sheeran to Taylor Swift, Stormzy, Billie Eilish and Paul McCartney.
Lauren Kreisler, director of digital and brand for the Official Charts Company, explains the thinking behind the new look. "The warm off-white base of the new brand palette combined with the Gen Z-friendly pops of bright digital colour is designed to hint at both the heritage of the charts, with a nod to the resilience of physical music such as vinyl in the digital era, and the desire to know what's new and what's popular," she says.
"It's a combination of nostalgia and discovery, be that the latest new release from a rising star or a chart icon like Kate Bush finding a new generation of fans because of Stranger Things."
In addition to its visual enhancements, the all-new OfficialCharts.com platform delivers a newly-expanded interactive chart archive – the deepest public music database ever published – as part of the web development by Full Fat Things.
The 'Artists' section has been doubled in size, surfacing a never-before-seen view of the chart success of more than 50,000 artists, from global icons to niche genre acts making their first break in the specialist charts.
A new 'Songs & Albums' section also features every hit that ever charted (over 167,000 records). This allows you to see the performance of any release across both the main Singles and Albums' Top 100, as well as the 50+ breakdown charts compiled weekly by the Official Charts Company, from Vinyl to Streaming, Afrobeats to Classical.
You can now press play and vertically scroll through the chart from any week in history, listen to audio clips of any charted song, watch a short-form 60-second video countdown of the Top 10, or tap the info button to discover chart facts about any song/album and its week-by-week chart journey.
The launch coincides with the publication of an independent cultural research study, The Official Chart – The 'People's Algorithm' by CultureStudio, which points to the enduring role of the Official Charts in British culture.
The study reveals that The Official Chart boasts 76% brand awareness, and 69% of chart followers (72% of those under 25s) say it is their Number 1 way of discovering new music – above streaming platforms, radio, YouTube and friends.
Respondents also revealed a new role for the Charts as an antidote to the heavily-personalised algorithm bubbles of today – representing an unbiased and verified record of what is popular rather than recommended.
"Seventy years on from the first ever Singles Chart being published, the Official Charts attracts an engaged digital audience looking to escape their algorithm bubbles," says Lauren. "They turn to us to ensure they're across popular culture – seeking verified music information, new releases, and a joyful, comforting nostalgia fix to shake off the heaviness of today's news agendas."
Funnelling new fans
Creating this richer, more welcoming digital experience with audio and video clips and new snackable video content formats such as the 'Top 10 in 60 Seconds' is designed to appeal to more casual, young, top-of-funnel users and encourage them to not only return but to begin their journey towards becoming habitual chart checkers who follow chart races with anticipation.
The brand revamp heralds a new era for the Official Charts platform. As Lauren explains: "Having invested in growing the Official Charts community and a distinctive editorial offering over the past decade, we're now opening our doors to create brand-safe contextual campaigns and bespoke partnerships in a genuinely unique, trusted and positive environment at the heart of British music culture."
"If you're looking to align with British music officially, and brand safety is paramount, our doors and the new platform are now open."
"The Official Charts and Official Charts Company straddles consumers, artists and business clients alike," says Todd Sayer, CEO and creative director at Electric Mustard. "So its identity must be versatile to span these different audiences and environments."
"The new look is bold, authoritative, and it goes without saying that it's an honour to have the opportunity to work on something with such heritage and stature. The Official Chart has played a significant role in our lives and British culture. It's amazing to be a small part of its continued legacy."