Leo Burnett London Reveals a Bold New Visual Identity That Includes Its Founder’s Iconic Glasses

Founding father still evident in rebrand

The new images represent Leo Burnett's "core values." Leo Burnett London
Headshot of Lindsay Rittenhouse

Leo Burnett London has pivoted decisively into the 21st century with a new visual identity. The bolder, more modern design pays tribute to the agency’s namesake—Burnett founded the agency in Chicago in 1935—by including his iconic black glasses.

While the images shift focus away from Burnett’s distinctive signature, they still encapsulate the visionary man who is regarded as one of the few founding fathers of advertising.

Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett said in a statement that the new identity comes with “a colorful, modern twist intended to carry the agency through the 21st century—and beyond.”

The various prints, set behind solid, bright colors, incorporate the apple as a symbol of the founder’s success and his “core values.” The fruit recalls an anecdote in which a competitor told Burnett, who died in 1971, that he would be on the street selling apples before he made money in the advertising business. The images also prominently feature the black Alpha 245 pencil Burnett routinely used and, of course, the thick black glasses that might have earned him the name “hipster” in a another age.

At Leo Burnett, we believe that solving human problems is what makes businesses grow,” said chief creative officer Chaka Sobhani. “Put simply, we always want to turn up human and look to make stuff that people truly love. Our new visual identity needed to reflect this agency philosophy.” 

You might wonder why one of the images features a yellow balloon wearing Burnett’s glasses or why another shows his pencil sticking out of a melting ice-cream cone, but the founder was a notoriously quirky man. As the London office’s Twitter account put it, “We still love pencils. But we’ve now discovered the joy of shoving them into things.”

The redesign—which was led by Phil Bosher, who recently joined Leo Burnett London as head of design after working at Fallon—comes at a transitional time for the organization. Last week, Publicis announced that Fallon London CEO Gareth Collins would assume the chief executive role at Leo Burnett as the two agencies look to “align” by the end of the calendar year.

@kitten_mouse lindsay.rittenhouse@adweek.com Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.