Global Experience Language (GEL)

Boots is the UK’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer. It has over 2,500 stores in the UK, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores. In addition to the nationwide network of stores, Boots also has a strong digital presence in the form of numerous websites, apps and in-store terminals.

With multiple teams consisting of hundreds of designers and developers working across several touchpoints and multiple platforms, it had started to become unwieldly for all departments to stay up to date with the newest brand developments and maintain a consistent look and feel across both digital and physical platforms.

Spotless were tasked with helping to develop the structure of a universal resource that could be used by all departments within Boots to help them to stay ‘on brand’. Taking inspiration from similar projects undertaken by other large companies (such as the BBC’s Global Experience Language (GEL) and’s Digital Service Manual).

Spotless consultants started by interviewing key stakeholders within the company to find out about the challenges involved with maintaining a consistent look and feel, the workarounds that are currently used and the pros and cons of current internal resources. In parallel to this, our consultants also undertook an audit of all current guidance materials and sought to identify duplication, contradictions and out of date guidelines.

It was also necessary to consider the workplace culture within Boots’ design teams. For example, it was important to know who would have the authority to amend the guidelines and who would not. If two departments develop separate designs simultaneously, who is right?

Following this research, the Spotless consultants were in a good position to make recommendations for the structure of a universal resource (known in the early stages as the Boots’ GEL) as well as recommendations for the governance and cultural changes that would need to take place within Boots in order for the Boots’ GEL to have maximum impact. These findings were communicated to key stakeholders in the form of workshops and a detailed report.

Ben Logan - Director

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