Wizards of the Coast - Magic: The Gathering

Streamlining an iconic brand dynasty


More than 20 million players compete and live Magic: The Gathering. It’s a Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro franchise of immense depth and enduring experiential staying power. The Magic: The Gathering team was preparing to expand into entertainment and a new online game, both of which would significantly broaden the reach and appeal of the brand. The team called Northbound to help them assess how to evolve their portfolio to accommodate the new offerings, adjusting brand expression to both maintain that which was sacred while broadening the appeal of the brand. 

In addition, visual equities had become muddled by prolific growth resulting in lack of consistency and diffused experience of the brand in first and third party application. In crafting a new brand architecture, Northbound also helped to simplify and clarify the portfolio.


Poised for growth following the acquisition by Hasbro, the Magic: The Gathering franchise wanted to evolve its brand to address an expanding market, and simplify the expression of its many properties, channels and touchpoints.


  • Competitive and comparative analysis
  • Brand and portfolio architecture
  • Naming
  • Identity design
  • Brand guidelines and training

Opening our brand to the future

As Magic: The Gathering embarked on brand expansion, they needed a structure that allowed for greater appeal, while protecting the specialness of the brand for fanatics. This was also a chance to evolve to a more timeless design, keeping the brand relevant to long-time fans while welcoming others to play.

Together, these changes helped:

  • Expand into entertainment and merchandise, without losing the special-ness of the core brand experience
  • Create clarity for partners, players and fans against different levels of engagement
  • Create consistency across all card releases, helping to develop equity across

Our new identity

Within a brand that is characterized by constant change – fueled by ongoing product innovation, new and evolving characters and worlds – the logo is the one constant that ties all our offerings together.

The Planeswalker symbol is the key element of the identity system. It is used on every branded product or communication. By making it more prominent and modern, we begin to create more visual equity in the symbol itself, to begin to enable more freedom in brand expression.


Brand Guidelines


Name development

Magic: The Gathering had never had an accessible online game; instead, there was a legacy game that was difficult to use and offered a “cards online” experience – rather than a whole reinvention of the experience.

The introduction of an online version of the game that was designed and created for online play, including social interaction and account management, was a new opportunity. But, the brand was unable to just call it Magic, due to the pre-existing property.

Northbound took on the challenge of naming this game for an exceptionally creative and discerning client. The bar was high – we had to be tonally on brand, we couldn’t compete with season names, and we had to offer some hint of a description of what the game experience was like and that it was different from Magic:The Gathering Online (the previous online game experience).

Welcome to Magic: The Gathering ARENA. A place where epic battles across planes, skill levels and characters take place, testing the mettle and mental agility of all who enter.


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