Picture: Heathcliff O'Malley/The Telegraph
The British love for horses cuts across all classes, with horse racing consistently being one of the top live sporting events. None is more famous than Royal Ascot, which will be held this year June 16 through 20 at the Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire. It should be quite the shindig, with attendance expected to reach 300,000. Of those, only a tiny minority (perhaps 1%?) can count themselves worthy of being seated in the Royal Enclosure, along with Queen Elizabeth and other notables, to watch the nags make their way around the turf. The horses are the main event, closely followed by the outlandish hats that have come to symbolize this 200-year-old monument to the landed gentry. Organizers have once again issued a style guide prior to the event, in hopes of reigning in the most flagrant sartorial excesses.
Speaking of excesses, more than 400 helicopters and 1,000 limos will transport the happy few to the event this year, who along with the hoi poloi will set to work downing approximately 51,000 bottles of champagne, 125,000 glasses of Pimm's, 174,000 pints of beer, 5,000 kilos of salmon, 7,000 Cornish and Folkestone crabs, 2,900 lobsters, 2,400 kilos of beef sirloin, 3,700 rumps of English lamb and 10,000 Angus steaks. If that wasn't enough, the 45,000 visitors taking afternoon tea are expected to consume 1,000 kilos of clotted cream along with 50,000 macaroons, 30,000 chocolate éclairs and 7,000 punnets of berries. It all sounds so terribly British, doesn't it?
However, the success of Royal Ascot had grown to the point that it was eclipsing the year-long schedule of events at the Ascot track. So London-based design consultancy The Clearing was recently tasked with creating a new positioning and identity for the overall Ascot brand. The firm puts it this way: "The visual identity is a contemporary take on traditional racing and heritage cues, juxtaposing a classic colour palette with a graphic pattern inspired by racing silks. The new tone of voice uses storytelling to convey the history and heritage of the racecourse, to show how a day at Ascot is unlike any other."
The tidied up logo and sedate color scheme seem right on brand, along with the discrete patterns. As for the storytelling, that remains a hot fad, so why not?