GSK unveils new branding and logo to showcase 'transformed' business

As GlaxoSmithKline becomes GSK and sheds its consumer unit, the British Big Pharma has revealed new branding, a tech-flavored logo and a “transformative” change for its future.

When it comes to the new-look logo, orange is the new—well, orange. GSK has long used the color in its branding, and it stays with the slimmed-down GSK brand, though in a darker hue than before. The color is also inverted: The previous logo used white letters against an orange background, but now the text is orange with no background color.  

The “GSK” is now all uppercase and standalone, and it makes for a stronger-looking logo; the former used lowercase lettering contained in an egg shape for an altogether softer feel. “Our name and our distinctive orange, both prominent features of our identity, remain an important part of the updated brand,” a GSK spokesperson told Fierce Pharma Marketing.

The new branding was inspired by the “striking imagery” found in biosciences, the spokesperson said, and the new identity “features numerous curved forms that evoke the highly adaptable nature of the human immune system, acting as a reminder of the constant need to evolve and adapt.”

This also reflects GSK’s R&D ambitions, which are squarely focused on tapping the human immune system to help create new and better medicines.

“Housed in a redesigned shape known as the ‘signal’, the dynamic new GSK logo always points the way ahead,” GSK explained. “The identity system flexes, adapts and moves to engage audiences across all the digital, social and physical environments that the brand will appear in.”

This all comes as the pharma is spinning out its consumer business, to be known as Haleon, which will be the largest London listing of a company in more than 10 years.

As the “demerger” process gets underway in the coming weeks, GSK is hoping to become a leaner, meaner R&D engine, and the change in branding and logos illustrates this broader change at the company.

“Following the demerger, GSK will be 100% focused on biopharma innovation, with a new purpose; to unite science, technology and talent to get ahead of disease together,” the pharma said.  

“Our branding reflects this new purpose and growth ambitions. It combines science, technology and talent, while also retaining key elements of our heritage.”

The rebrand also comes a month after the company dropped GlaxoSmithKline as its official name and moved to the more simple GSK. These changes mark the end of a 20-year brand, beginning at the start of the millennium when Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham combined to become GlaxoSmithKline.

The pharma still wants its heritage to be an integral part of the company but sees the new branding as indicative of its desire for partnership and collaboration. Fierce Pharma Marketing also understands this will extend to how the new GSK will talk with the media, aiming for a plain-language approach.

French pharma Sanofi undertook a similar change at the start of the year, ditching the Pasteur and Genzyme of old and rebranding as plain “Sanofi.” That switch also came with a new, simplified logo with a nod to the tech world.