Rijk Zwaan

Rijk Zwaan sprouts its new brand identity

Rijk Zwaan is sprouting a revolutionary brand identity with Total Design, bringing the world of fruit and vegetable processing to life. Firmly rooted in innovation and human connections, this identity reveals an unprecedented power that transforms the future of food.

  • Strategy
  • Branding
  • Brand strategy
  • Brand identity
  • Web design

Just under a year ago, Rijk Zwaan, one of the world’s largest vegetable seed breeders, invited Total Design to embark on a rebranding journey together. What started with creative and strategic deep dive sessions resulted in a unifying brand story, a sharp brand hierarchy and a unique global visual identity. An identity distinguished by its digital accessibility and effectiveness, from inspiration to conversion. A visualization full of color, elements and movement. Emerged from a process where we not only started at the roots of the brand, but went even further back to where it all begins at Rijk Zwaan: the seed.

The DNA of Rijk Zwaan

Rijk Zwaan plays a crucial role in our food supply. Every day they provide millions of people around the world with fruits and vegetables born from their seeds. With a strong focus on discovery and innovation, they are building a more sustainable future for the food chain. They do this by collaborating with partners and scientific institutions, using R&D, data-driven technology as well as AI solutions. But the real strength of Rijk Zwaan is not only its research and technology. The thing that makes Rijk Zwaan unique is the central role they give to their people, who are always at the forefront of everything they do.

Research and optimization

The team wanted to understand what happens behind closed doors at Rijk Zwaan. After several creative and strategic sessions, including a special guided tour, we got a clear picture of the company’s DNA. We translated the unique connection between the ‘people first’ mentality and Rijk Zwaan’s exceptional products into a sharp brand story. We also explored the inspiration around seed breeding by following the ‘journey of the seed’. These insights formed the starting point for the development of the visual identity. An identity that emerged from the deep-rooted DNA of Rijk Zwaan.

Inspiration from nature

The entire identity is rooted in the seed and the process of arriving at a successful seed. This was the starting point for the updated logo, based on the Fibonacci sequence, and for the development of multiple color variations to make the logo more accessible digitally. The various colors reflect the variety of seeds and crops. The layout system is inspired by plant cells, offering a glimpse into the world of Rijk Zwaan, intertwined with their DNA. The unique photography style captures the connection between the seed’s journey and human relationships, celebrating the interplay between technology and humanity.

Digital acceleration

Since an increasing part of the worldwide communication and sales of the seeds occurs online, this identity was also designed from the ‘digital first’ principle. We obtained an overview of Rijk Zwaan’s digital platform by conducting extensive research into all digital assets, the desired target groups, and their deployment. We then optimized each visual identity element and searched for the ideal combination of digital aesthetics and effectiveness. How do we stand out well enough but remain accessible? This was the question we kept asking ourselves. By the time we could also refresh the websites, e-commerce environment, and e-learning platform, all elements naturally fell into place and were optimized one by one.

Cells and connections

Especially as the brand grows digitally and will grow even more in the future, a comprehensive motion style was developed. These elements visualize complex science and human connection clearly, both still and in motion. They summarize the essence of the story without requiring extensive textual or visual content. This style can be used independently but also enriches existing visual content. Later on, the style was expanded to include more visual elements to communicate specific information, such as photosynthesis or the protective characteristics of seeds, in a simplified way.

Unity through synergy

Transforming Rijk Zwaan into a unified strong brand required a sharp brand hierarchy. The brand had become fragmented over the years. An extensive portfolio of well-known and lesser-known brands, all aimed at a B2B target group with their own (visual) identity. After strategic research, we worked with Rijk Zwaan to clarify and simplify the brand hierarchy based on commercial objectives. This increased brand value by bringing categories closer to the Rijk Zwaan brand.

A premium label appearance ensures recognition and cross-pollination between the Rijk Zwaan brand and the B2B labels (such as Defense™, and the Retail audience). The B2B4C brands (such as Sweet Palermo® and Salanova®) maintain their own identity but are given an ‘endorsement’ logo within the B2B environment to promote Rijk Zwaan brand recognition. This resulted in a clear hierarchy for all internal and external target groups.

Strong methodology

To facilitate the international translation of Rijk Zwaan’s identity, we worked with a systematic approach. We built a modular brand by looking beyond individual design elements and developing complete assets. The identity was elaborated in various content blocks suitable for on- and offline use, with templates for different assets and languages. These templates serve as a starting point for expressions that the end user can customize as they need. Although the goal was independent use, we quickly noticed that the templates provided an incentive to continuously expand and optimize the identity together with the end users.

The identity of Rijk Zwaan presents a strong and unique brand that stands out in the market. It offers opportunities for powerful digital-first communications and a strong e-commerce strategy, while maintaining the human essence of the brand. The integration of creativity and functionality provides a platform for brand and product communication, strengthening the brand’s position. It supports Rijk Zwaan in its mission to provide the world with healthy food, now and in the future.
Want to know more about Rijk Zwaan and what their identity looks like in day-to-day communication? Visit the website and social media pages and discover the wonderful world of fruit and vegetable breeding. A world that many of us do not yet know well, but from which we benefit daily.

Do you want your brand to be recognizable as well as distinctive? Get in touch with Henriette!

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