Tuesday 27 March 2012

New beginning under Forte Oil

In 1996, prior to undertaking some branding work for So energy, I was observing how petroleum brands in Sub-Saharan Africa were marketing themselves and it occurred to me how African Petroleum brazenly applied the typographic style of the Raymond Loewy's BP emblem.

Recalling its erstwhile parent identity was intentional of course as African Petroleum was previously part of the BP family, BP of Nigeria Ltd as it was formerly known from 1964 until 1974.

An overhaul last year including new identity and name from African Petroleum to Forte Oil has allowed the troubled brand to reposition itself as a leaner, more modern fuel operator and distance itself from its past difficulties.

The rebranding is still underway. Forte Oil recently rebranded flagship site in Ikoyl, Lagos in a two-year phased rollout across the African oil firm's network of 500 petroleum stations.

The new identity was designed by South African based brand design agency Brand Union. The new logotype incorporates a dark green leaf shape which recalls African Petroleum's symbiotic relationship with BP in a coded message – the dark green leaf fits like a jigsaw piece into the former BP emblem.

The smaller of the two leaves represents Forte Oil's new direction and youthfulness. Notice how the colours mix at the stem – expressing the watershed moment when the FO struck out towards a new future.    

The forecourt design looks bold but slightly at odds with its dusty and polluted surroundings. The leaf green, white and lime colours add vibrancy and together suggest a new company that is unafraid to explore new ideas and innovation (eco-sustainable fuel technologies) and to to be more open and transparent. The canopy has a contemporary look which as I understand,was a key requirement of the Nigerian Directorate of Petroleum Resources for Gas Station operators. The forecourt is a great leap forward and I haven't even got to mentioning about the modern pump island, lubes bay and digitally operated pylon but I will spare you of that detail, at least for now.

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