Case Studies - Brand Design

Why GSK Rebranded

The GSK rebrand is a direct result of a growing trend to separate pharma and consumer good businesses

New GSK logo sculpture

Earlier this year GSK made two significant announcements:

  1. The British pharmaceutical company changed its name from GlaxoSmithKline to simply GSK.
  2. Consumer-facing products, including brands like Sensodyne and Panadol, will be housed under a separate brand called Haleon. GSK will focus only on the biopharma space.

GSK is not the first pharma company to do this, as the industry doubles down on separating ‘consumer goods’ from ‘science.’

In 2019, before it announced a new brand identity by Landor & Fitch, Pfizer sold its consumer business to GSK.

In 2021, Johnson & Johnson announced that it was splitting its businesses in the same way: Its household products unit with brands like Band-Aid and Neutrogena and Listerine was separated from its faster-growing division that makes and sells prescription drugs and medical devices, including its Covid-19 vaccine. (So far, we haven’t heard about the new name for any of the divisions).

Not in the same industry but still relevant: GE has also announced plans to create three separate publicly traded companies, spinning out its medical and energy units from its aviation unit.

The New GSK Brand

Wolff Olins carried out the rebrand for GSK, using the ‘visual language of biosciences, genomic sequencing and data analysis.’

GSK old and new logo

The curved forms in the new identity are inspired by the ‘adaptability of the human immune system’ and find their way to other applications like print and digital collateral and employee merchandise.

GSK brochures with new design
GSK collateral

We particularly loved how the spatial aspects of the brand identity work.

DNA strand

The brand identity change is accompanied by a somewhat cliched articulation of purpose: Ahead Together. More interesting is a document called The Code, which outlines values and commitments.

Haleon: The Consumer Business

GSK’s consumer business will now be listed as a separate business called Haleon.

GSK new brand Haleon

What did you think of the rebrand? Tell us in the comments.

All images property of GSK, Wolff Olins

2 Comments

  1. What goes around comes around. Glaxo and SmithKlineBeecham merged to bring consumer products, like Lucozade and toothpastes into the GSK fold. Now they are separating them again. Remembering that Glaxo was originally a cough lozenge and baby milk company, the R&D site at Ware, where I did the branding and signage, was the farm where they grew the blackcurrants for Allen & Hanbury! The new brand doesn’t sit well on the roadside sign. I would be happy to redo it!

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