Wolff Olins and W+K craft new branding for strategy videogame, Anno

Helping Ubisoft videogame Anno transform from niche concern to worldwide appeal, a new masterbrand gives the title a new, consistent identity across all touchpoints.

Global brand consultancy Wolff Olins and Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam have partnered with video game publisher Ubisoft to develop the first-ever masterbrand for its long-running Anno strategy game series.

Anno is a real-time strategy and economic simulation video game franchise focusing on players establishing and managing colonies across a series of islands. The games are set during historical periods like the Renaissance and allow players to conduct exploration, trade with other civilisations, manage resources and engage in military combat.

While each Anno game is a standalone title, they share the core gameplay of building and strategically developing settlements. The series has spanned over 25 years and seven main instalments since its inception in 1998, with the most recent entries developed by Ubisoft's Blue Byte studio.

Yet despite its longevity and cult following, especially in its native German market, the Anno franchise had never received a cohesive brand identity or unified messaging across its various games and spin-offs. That is until Ubisoft appointed Haye Anderson as the first-ever Anno brand director last year.

The brief

Anderson, who previously led brands at Droga5, saw an opportunity to elevate Anno from a niche strategy game into a premier world-building brand. He tapped Wolff Olins and Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam to collaborate on crafting a robust new brand platform.

"As a gamer, I often feel game marketing needs a refresh. With Anno, we had a real opportunity to revitalise the franchise and shake up the strategy genre," says Anderson. "Our goal was to give Anno a clear purpose – cultivating the joy of building – while also not taking ourselves too seriously."

Wolff Olins was tasked with developing Anno's new masterbrand, brand ethos, and complete visual identity system, which was flexible enough to extend across current and future game releases.

Their solution centred around the concept of 'Crafted with Care'. "Anno is a game all about building and craft, so the core of our idea was a design ethos to create something more tangible in the real world which could be seamlessly brought into the digital world," explains Wayne Deakin, global principal at Wolff Olins. "We believe that by embodying the spirit of creation, the brand will resonate with the passionate community of Anno players for whom every detail is a labour of love, too."

Graphic elements

Drawing inspiration from the historical settings of Anno, the handmade brand identity features an earthy colour palette, chiselled typefaces and intricate maker motifs.

A customisable 'A' symbol is rendered in various crafted material textures, allowing it to adapt to any setting the game might explore.

Trailer and social campaign

The comprehensive rebrand was unveiled this week at Ubisoft's annual Forward conference, where the trailer for the next game instalment, Anno 117: Pax Romana, also premiered.

This has been followed by a social media campaign offering more sneak peeks of the game ahead of its release in 2025. Fans can see additional reveals on the Anno Twitch channel on 18 June.

Set in ancient Rome, the epic game trailer was created by Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam as an introduction to Anno's new brand world and player mindset.

This unconventional 60-second trailer depicts the epic scope of the game's environments without showing any gameplay footage. Instead, a town crier character announces the player's role as 'Governor' and cycles through dramatic scenes of vast landscapes waiting to be shaped, leaving the actual building to viewers' imaginations.

The agency wanted the launch to be as entertaining and imaginative as the game itself. As such, the trailer plays with the idea that for true 'builders', an open frontier is their dream canvas. It's an open invitation to join Anno's community of crafters and creators in making this game world their own. "We crafted a simple, yet powerful message to Anno fans worldwide: build it!" says W+K Creative directors Ed Olhagaray and Ramona Todoca.

With this comprehensive rebrand and new trailer setting a new foundation for the franchise, Anno is well-positioned to inspire its community of strategists and world-builders for years to come.


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