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.

“After 25 years and seven instalments, Anno had solidified its position as a top builder game but lacked a clear brand purpose or design system to make it iconic,” says Anderson. “We wanted to celebrate the core idea of giving players the creative freedom to cultivate their own worlds and experiences through building.”

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’. “The new Anno symbol represents the community’s collective mindset of craftsmanship, ambition and desire to build something greater than themselves,” explains Lara Scholey, creative director at Wolff Olins. “Every texture, material and graphic element is meticulously designed to inspire players’ creativity, just as they craft remarkable worlds within the games.”

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.

“We wanted the launch to be as entertaining and imaginative as the game itself,” says Ryan Luscombe, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam. “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.”

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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