Case Studies - Brand Design

MPL Ups Its Design Game

As it scales globally, the e-sports and mobile gaming platform has launched a new brand positioning and identity

Virat Kohli with MPL New Brand Design

Founded in 2018 by Sai Srinivas and Shubham Malhotra, e-sports and skill gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL), was valued at $2.3 billion at the time of its last fund raise in September 2021. In a very short time, MPL has seen exponential growth and now has 100 million users who access the platform to play over 70 games. These include a mix of fantasy sports, casual games and e-sports competitions. Apart from India, the company has operations in Indonesia, the USA and Europe

MPL recently worked with Gurgaon-based studio, Codesign, to re-examine their brand and we got you all the details. 

The Need for the Rebrand

Senior Vice President, Brand Design, Vivek Sadamate, is also part of the founding team at MPL. He points to the three reasons that spurred the rebranding exercise. 

  1. MPL’s unique model means that they are a platform housing multiple games across verticals. This requires that the MPL brand itself be compelling and memorable, so it can create a bond with its audiences. 
  2. MPL is strongly associated with the competitive gaming space.  The brand needed an appropriate positioning and high-energy identity that would align with this key proposition.
  3. As with any company that grows so quickly, there was a need to create standardisation, guidelines and systems so the brand experience was cohesive across all channels.

The Brand Positioning: Championing the Underdog

After qualitative user research with Busybee Brand Consultants, which helped them understand their audience better, MPL arrived at their core brand proposition: “MPL is a platform that makes the underdog a champion.”

“New-age internet users get their chance to be in the limelight on online platforms,’” says co-founder and CEO, Sai Srinivas. “Regardless of their backgrounds, this is where they get recognition and we want to be the platform that gives them that sense of pride.’”

“E-sports is the future of sports,” adds co-founder Shubham Malhotra, “and MPL is the arena where those e-sports will be played.”

Billboard Mock Up Design Case Study Gaming
MPL seeks to be the E-sports platform that champions the underdog 

The Brand Identity

The design brief for the brand identity had two parts:

  1. Communicate the brand proposition and evoke the energy of Brand MPL
  2. Create a robust design system that allows for seamless business and geographical expansion

Josh Junoon Jeet

From the positioning, Codesign distilled a phrase that served as the internal guiding spirit for the brand personality. Josh Junoon Jeet (Fervour, Passion, Victory)  summed up the energy of the brand and allowed teams to imagine the brand’s moods and personality in a more tangible way.

While the MPL logo remains unchanged, the new multi-layered brand identity system includes several different components:

1. Epicentre 

Centre-stage is a multicoloured visual device, inspired by the idea of the MPL platform as an ‘epicentre,’ where the action begins and unfolds into an outward burst of energy.  

Instead of being restricted to one shape, the Epicentre has four basic variations: a rectangle that follows the shape of a mobile phone, a circle, a square and a diamond. Additional guidelines have been provided for construction of any new shapes using the Epicentre principles for the future.

MPL Visual device usage
The Epicentre shifts shapes, scale and orientation to allow different ways of integrating content and expressions.

2. The Ticker

A ticker forms part of the toolkit to provide a moving identity asset that can be used to amplify short messages

The Ticker is an additional brand asset, drawn from the vocabulary of sports, that adds movement and energy to the brand asset

3. Typography

The house style for MPL is Trim, with an option to use the open-source Roboto as a substitute. Noto Sans is to be used for all Indic languages.

4. Iconography 

While a set of standard icons has been developed for the brand, the same icon adapts to different use cases, depending on the desired visibility.

Gaming icons in different visibility sizes
The iconography is built to adapt to different levels of visibility.

5. Sonic Identity

Along with a master brand track and a sonic logo, MPL’s auditory assets also include a sonic toolbox that can be used to mix tracks and create new compositions and variations. 

6. Motion Identity

The motion identity for MPL comprises a set of animations that complement the rhythm of the master brand track. These include logo animations, moving type and extended behaviours for the epicentre and ticker in motion.

(The motion and sonic design was done in collaboration with Codesign partner – Addikt)

Think Behaviour, Not Templates

Codesign’s Ray believes that brand teams must  think in terms of behaviour rather than templates. “Instead of trying to fit content into a template, which is an overhang from legacy brand identity design,” she says, “we want teams to focus on the emotion they are trying to evoke.” 

Assets have been provided with behaviours that support different kinds of urgency, boldness and energy, so teams pick and work with what suits a specific context. Instead of a traditional set of templates for print advertising or digital marketing which are locked in and do not respond to content, samples were created to help understand the applications for different scenarios. 

Design templates for gaming communication
The brand toolkit provides solutions to suit different communication needs. L to R: Establish trust & fairness, Time-sensitive urgency, Competitive comparison, Game-specific skinning

Advice for Brand Teams

Considering a branding exercise? Here’s some useful advice

“The way teams finally deploy design varies greatly from organisation to organisation. This can include volume of creatives, skill-sets of internal/external teams, decision-making protocols, market requirements, content strategies, etc. It is critical to understand this so that a design solution shines in real world usage and not just in the highly controlled environment of a branding project.”

Mohor Ray, Cofounder, Codesign

“Start by testing any new identity components on marketing interfaces, and not on product. Product changes are hard and expensive to reverse, so fine-tune your new system on marketing content. Remember that brand-building takes time, so be patient. If you do things right, you will see the results.”

Vivek Sadamate, Senior Vice President Brand Design, MPL

5 Comments

  1. We are a group of founders between 21 and 24 in Gauhati and we are building our startup. The ecosystem here is small but we will develop it. THC case studies are so useful and broaden our thinking. Just want to give your team a shoutout.

  2. Design for behaviours not templates blew me away. Kudos to Mohor & Codesign. After reading this, found her podcast also

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