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Gamification Marketing

Language tool Duolingo is on message following rebrand


By John Glenday, Reporter

September 17, 2019 | 3 min read

A language app which seeks to take the pain out of the learning process by harnessing gamification for the process of vocabulary acquisition has updated its messaging to communicate just how fun picking up a new language can be with the free tool.


Language tool Duolingo is on message following a rebrand

Duolingo was conceived in 2011 by two alumni of the University of Pittsburgh and has since gone onto achieve 300 million downloads thanks to a visually rich, screen-based learning programme but had evolved in an ad hoc manner with many elements, sub-brands and products sowing increasing confusion.

The new-look has been designed by Johnson Banks to place the narrative that language learning can transform lives at the heart of the brand's mission statement, opening with a democratic tagline that ‘everyone can Duolingo’.

This is conveyed by a cartoon owl mascot named Duo which has been carried through to a bespoke ‘Feather Bold’ typeface which utilises newly designed characters such as a ‘spectacle g’ to communicate its message in a quirky manner. These are bound by a new set of guidelines which include logo lock-ups, revised core colours, typographic styling and illustration guides.

Michael Johnson, Johnson Banks founder and creative director said: “This has been a unique opportunity to develop what is already a much-loved product into a world-beating brand. Working hand-in-hand with the Duolingo team in Pittsburgh, through sprints and workshops, we started with a left-field idea – to draw their logo based on the shapes in their mascot – and an entire design scheme led from there.”

The all-new Duolingo will span all digital and physical outlets, with a brand takeover of Pittsburgh Airport and a European advertising campaign helping to announce the changes.

Duolingo attributes its success in disrupting an established market to gamification, by harnessing design tricks found in mobile apps such as Candy Crush.

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