Merlin Learning Universe

Conceptualising a learning & development portal
Merlin Entertainments

May 2023


Conceptualise and create a fresh and modern-feeling brand identity for Merlin’s new learning & development portal.

As the owners of Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Madame Tussauds and many more attractions, Merlin is one of the planet’s largest entertainment companies. They approached Ph.Creative about this project after the agency won the larger employer brand contract. The problem to solve was that, while Merlin had established learning and development pathways across their many different brands, they lacked one centralised place that pulled them altogether. Their goal was to create a hub that could have employees feeling like they worked for the Merlin brand as opposed to the siloed feeling of different resorts and attractions. In doing so, they intended to create the tangible sense of a wider Merlin community, and retain staff’s specialist skills by encouraging them to own their careers and seek progression by moving between Merlin locations.

The work
The creative evolution of this project was really quite fascinating to be a part of. Initially we were given three avenues to investigate: one inspired by a school like Hogwarts; one ‘high-concept’ route, and one symbolic. These became the routes presented in deck one. On client feedback, we then combined routes one and three into a second deck. When the client saw this, they liked it… but in the interim, had come up with their own Marvel-inspired name that they wanted us to investigate. And so the Merlin Learning Universe was born, complete with its own reverse-engineered route rationale and creative exploration. We then took the approved route and developed brand guidelines around it, including visual do’s and don’ts, photography tips, tone of voice best practices, and activation ideas to help launch the chosen route to Merlin’s internal audience. You can see those in the fourth and final deck.

See for yourself
Browse below to see the full Merlin L&D project evolution across four creative decks.






Click an image to open the deck

Deck 1: Mount Everbridge, Challegio! and O.W.L.


Deck 2: Merlin’s OWL Academy


Deck 3: Merlin Learning Universe


Deck 4: MLU Brand Guidelines