Ocean Software Ltd (1983—1998)

Yesterday’s Brands, Today: Part three of four

Plenty of organisations have become particularly well-known for movie tie-ins, from fast-food and drinks companies to jewellery and technology manufacturers. Back in the 1980s and 90s, there was one games developer that took this further than anyone else, and as a result, most blockbuster action films of the time became a drop in the Ocean back catalogue.

Ocean Software Ltd, a British development company, became one of Europe’s premier video game developers and publishers in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, offering a games library containing countless movie-related titles of the era including Batman, RoboCop, Rambo and Jurassic Park.

Ocean had originally made its name with the infamous joystick-breaking Daley Thompson’s Decathlon, though this foray into original content was one of its few successes outside of film tie-ins. However, it was Ocean’s logo that became more famous than anything else it created, and popped up at the start of every game, while regularly taking an inordinate amount of space on game front covers.

Our designer has taken on this classic company as the penultimate brand that we wanted to drag into the 21st century – but just how much will change in the harsh light of the modern day?

old logo

Ocean’s logo featured large, chunky, lowercase letters paired with a textbook 80s sparkle effect, and this glossy word sat in front of a blue gradient in a pill-shaped block. The most defining element was the combination of the A and N letters – a simple and occasionally overlooked element. A one-colour version of the logo was often used as an alternative, but as you can see from the image below, its full-colour logo was used more often than not.

old pic

The simplicity of the original emblem was unparalleled at the time, especially when the gloss effect and gradient was dropped. However, our designer believed the use of white space on the predominantly geometric logo hadn’t had its potential maximised. Furthermore, the combination of the A and N broke a potential wave effect across the letters that would be more befitting for the company’s name.


Our new emblem departs from the large, glossy pill shape of the past and plays up to the geometric shapes of the letter forms, creating a strong wave pattern along the baseline of our typography. The white space between the once-merged A and N also creates a standalone wave effect that can be used on its own for mobile games and app icons.


A key part of the Ocean brand was the blue colour spectrum and the large glossy badge. Keeping the vibrant blue of their original palette is key to maintaining the classic logo and branding. The treatment of the new logo can also be changed to match the theme and style of the video game it represents – given the diverse catalogue of games the brand was associated with, this marque standardisation is more important than ever.



Did our Ocean Software rebrand go too far, or not far enough? Let us know what you think here, or through our Facebook and Twitter accounts!

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