Modernising a historic brand

The Brief

NAAFI is the Ministry of Defence’s in-house provider of catering, retail, leisure and soft facilities management services.

Their role is to ‘serve the services’, supporting UK Forces communities by improving their quality of life at home and abroad. As a not-for-profit organisation, all NAAFI’s surpluses go back into supporting UK Armed Forces communities across the world.​

While NAAFI was thought of fondly by veterans, the brand’s dated look and feel didn’t reflect its relevance as an organisation for modern times.

With scaling up plans, and a host of new services in the pipeline, NAAFI brought on Barley to help them engage new audiences and increase their presence in the UK.

The brief was to update and refresh NAAFI’s decades-old logo and create a new and engaging brand that would support the continuation of its important work.



Insights and Approach

We began with an immersive strategic phase, speaking with key stakeholders across the organisation and running an information-gathering branding workshop. These gave us valuable insights about NAAFI and informed our approach.

NAAFI needed to rebrand to capture both B2B and B2C audiences; not just veterans and acting service personnel who might be interested in their services, but also anyone with an emotional attachment to the Armed Forces, including the public. The brand therefore needed to be modern enough to resonate with new and younger audiences, while also retaining its heritage to continue to appeal to loyal ones.

We used insights from the immersion phase to articulate NAAFI’s brand foundations, key brand messages, brand story and tone of voice, while providing a design brief rooted in strategy.

We reviewed NAAFI’s brand architecture and defined core brand pillars, to ensure that decisions around messaging and visual language would be audience appropriate. We looked at industry examples of how sub-brands can be categorised and established a clear path forward.


The Outcome

Our work has refreshed the look and feel of NAAFI, creating a solid, contemporary brand which supports the organisation’s future objectives.

Central to the rebrand was the brand foundations, culminating in new brand architecture, and comprehensive brand and messaging guidelines.

The new logo is infused with meaning – including Union Jack detailing, military-inspired chevrons and a customised typeface.

To appeal to new public audiences, we built in flexible graphic devices and created consumer specific branding materials.

We also delivered a new website, alongside running social media and providing an advisory role on all communications and design activities.