A brand 200 years in the making


A global leader in science that makes the world cleaner and healthier, Johnson Matthey is a respected FTSE 100 industrial group employing 14,000 people in over 30 countries worldwide. As part of its 200th anniversary, Johnson Matthey engaged Saffron to help revisit its brand as the company faced the next chapter in its story.

Successful but invisible giant

From beginnings as assayers of precious metals to creating revolutionary technologies to improve air quality today, Johnson Matthey’s research and innovation had evolved as they work to make a difference in our world. Its brand had failed to keep up, however.

Success had brought rapid growth – both organic and through acquisition – leaving the brand architecture fragmented and incoherent. This was also true of the workforce, which was organised in silos without a sense of collective purpose. The logo and visual language of Johnson Matthey were dated. There was an exclusive focus on the company’s outputs; the ‘what’ it does, rather than recognising and communicating its purpose, the ‘why’.

In short, Johnson Matthey needed a bold step forward to allow the company to communicate its story externally whilst rallying and engaging employees internally.

Inspiring science, enhancing life

To successfully build a unified company identity, the vision and story needed to reflect how the employees felt about their work at Johnson Matthey and the impact it had on the wider world.

Immersing ourselves in the business, Saffron conducted a research study with employees in labs and offices all over the world. What became quickly evident was the pride they took in their scientific achievements, which were creating life-enhancing impact across a broad spectrum.

We captured this insight in the brand promise: ‘Inspiring science, enhancing life’. This created a sense of collective responsibility towards a greater purpose beyond the day-to-day and, importantly, helped to break down internal silos.

We developed a brand narrative by defining three different areas that Johnson Matthey’s work touches: The Lab (internal scientific work), The Market (how the science is applied to solve customers’ complex problems), and Life (the impact on people’s everyday lives).

By focusing on the company’s impact in these areas, we gave Johnson Matthey the ability to communicate the value of its work to all its stakeholders, inside and outside their business.

The brand architecture was focused on a monolithic master brand coupled with a visual identity that is fresh, modern and recognisable. A strong logo, proprietary font, new colour palette and distinctive photographic style come together to create a coherent, confident brand.

For today, and future generations

Saffron helped transform Johnson Matthey from the inside out. We took a successful company in need of a brand and gave it meaning beyond the sum of its parts as well as a strong visual identity. We provided the tools needed to unite the workforce and enable them to portray their considerable stature to the world.

Johnson Matthey now has the tools it needs to reassert its vision for a world that’s cleaner, healthier and its position as global leader in sustainable technologies. Applying cutting-edge science to make a positive impact in the world, today and for future generations.

To find out more visit Johnson Matthey’s new website here.