Blast 106 FM Brand Development

Belfast’s most music station Blast FM approached Kaizen Brand Evolution to design and develop a new brand identity system for their group of radio stations across the UK and Ireland. Blast FM has been live on air for a number of years and reached a point of significant growth, and they needed a brand identity that was going to help propel them to even greater heights, appealing to more listeners. The market of radio is highly competitive and the team at Blast FM needed a unique identity to truly reflect what they offer and stand out in their industry landscape.  Blast Fm’s brief was to create a modern, recognisable identity that spoke to their core audience correctly as well as being bright and bold. They wanted something that was going to stand out within the market, showing them as one of the leading players within the industry. A unique request was to include a WAV file of an important figurehead from Blast FM talking who had recently passed, a touching piece of communication now represented forever in their brand mark. Blast FM as a group own 7 further stations and a part of the challenge was to create their identity so that it could become a flexible mark, easily recognisable across all markets, as well as being easily adapted in colour and name for other stations whilst retaining the group look and feel.

We designed a flexible identity system around the concept of the play button. The play button represents radio, music, playfulness and fun so we thought it was the perfect symbolism for the group identity. We also introduced a secondary keyline surrounding the play button to represent movement, volume and radio signal. Utilising the play button’s shape we were able to house the frequencies of each station and the WAV file from the brief. The play button acts as the boilerplate brand mark for the set of group marks, on each of the different stations identities the colours change as well as the frequencies of the related station. The name of each station and it’s geographical location sits to the left of the button and is easily interchangeable as the brand rolls out across the remaining stations – Blast Fm Belfast, Iur Fm Newry & Mourne, ABC across the ABC region, Blast Digital Glasgow, Your Fm Stockport, Blast Blackburn and Blast Northwest. Each station adopts its own unique colour system, each palette as bright and eye-catching as the last. This approach keeps the group brand profile true across all business areas and reinforces the brand personality across the UK and Ireland.

Along with the play mark, we introduced black and white art direction for the brand imagery. The choice for black and white imagery was primarily to place further emphasis on the identity and its bold colour palette. The two, when designed together, marry very well and create an over well rounded, bright and modern identity with a considerable and noticeable change from their previous brand identity. The photography is primarily portraiture of key musicians featured on playlists from the respective radio station. Each set of images is put together in a concertina format for use across social media, advertising and in print. We also introduced a set of geometric 3-dimensional backgrounds for the Blast FM brand rollout which can be seen on their social media channels. The geometric shapes and 3D effect simply adds depth to the brand mark and creates a more modern corporate brand world for the new mark to thrive in.

As the brand rollout continues across the entire group we look forward to creating further digital and printed collateral. As brand guardians for each of the business facets, we have a clear understanding of how the branding should be treated across all mediums. We thoroughly enjoyed the design and developments of the brand system for Blast FM and look forward to seeing the branding out in the real world as it begins to evolve.