It needed to work on an offshore oil rig with limited internet connectivity, in a mine wearing fire-proof gloves, and behind a desk in an office.
Tempo is a document aggregate app that helps people in large and geographically distributed organisations find the most up-to-date versions of the documents they need, when they need them.
We were approached to design a brand and user experience for the Tempo app. What made the project interesting was that the requirements were quite specific to users in some unusual situations: often remote or dangerous.
The app was primarily for mineral resources, oil and gas and mining companies. So needed to work on an offshore oil rig with limited internet connectivity, in a mine wearing fire-proof gloves, and behind a desk in an office. Because of this, it needed to exude reliability and authority, both through its brand and the way that the app functioned. It needed to provide strict version control of documents, have options for customisation depending on the situation, and be fast and intuitive.
We were provided with an initial working prototype of the app (then called ‘Nimbus’) which we used as a base moving forward.
The brand essence we developed for the app was ‘Always Ready’. This essence ensured that we focused on the best delivery of information in the shortest amount of time. The brand we developed reflected this: being paired back and straight to the point. Similarly, the platform was designed with a focus on efficient use of space with easy to follow steps and basic, but useful customisations: such as increasing or decreasing the size of items on the interface to use it with large gloves.
The brand manifested itself across the app as well as supporting collateral such as business cards, instructional documents and brochures. The app was developed to work responsively across a range of use cases, devices and screen sizes including custom made ‘kiosks’ to be installed in specific locations across an organisation.
The quality of the content in Taylor Fry’s RADAR has always been second to none, but the design of the publication itself has never faithfully expressed it.
The first project to use the new brand we developed for Taylor Fry was their RADAR report. RADAR is Taylor Fry’s annual report on the general insurance industry in Australia and New Zealand. It is the culmination of Taylor Fry’s findings and expert analysis of the ‘General Insurance Barometer’, a proprietary survey conducted each year by Taylor Fry and JP Morgan. RADAR provides a snapshot of the insurance industry and is seen as an invaluable resource by insurance operators, government and the media.
In all our correspondence with the people at Taylor Fry there was not just, as expected when one hears the word ‘actuarial’, incredible intelligence and a dogmatic work ethic, but also a passion for continual improvement and humour: a lot more humour than we expected from these self-proclaimed number nerds.
The impressions we got from previous issues of RADAR compared with what we got from the people at Taylor Fry themselves were terribly misaligned. We needed to reinvigorate the report with the passion and professionalism that was inherent in Taylor Fry’s people. And designing the new RADAR in conjunction with a new brand gave us the perfect opportunity to convey this.
The main obstacle to accomplish this goal, however, was the industry itself. The expectation of design amongst Taylor Fry’s peers can be euphemistically described as conservative. Standards are set by pre-packaged slide templates and web-safe fonts, making any change a significant challenge.
Instead of following this trend though, we developed a new analogue. Taylor Fry is an industry leader in actuarial science: RADAR 2018 would lead the industry in design as well. Whilst similar material from competitors is often hurriedly put together as a PDF download, we created a physical, printed report using premium paper stocks and finishes that takes the display of the content as seriously as the content itself.
‘No one else in the industry is doing this!’
Upon launch of RADAR 2018, the response to the design from Taylor Fry’s managing director was a very excited ‘No one else in the industry is doing this!’ At that, we were confident we had at least made a small impression on a traditionally design-cynical industry.
How do you appeal for massive change in an industry stuck in old ways of thinking?
Smash Delta is a young data strategy consultancy with the aspiration to carve its own niche between the traditional management consultants and tech-focussed big-data startups.
Smash Delta was only just established when we started talking to them about their brand. The difficulty they had, and the problem we intended to solve, was how do they appeal to old, conservative companies and sell them radical, new ideas?
To achieve this, we first developed a small-scale brand strategy with Smash Delta which gave us their essence: Prove it. Prove it is a call to action in a tired, corporate industry. It positions Smash Delta to put their money where their mouth is: putting their integrity into everything they do. This would give potential clients the reassurance that, even if the ideas are radical, the conviction cannot be questioned.
The result was a strong, bold brand identity serious enough for the boardroom, but radical enough to take the risks that need to be taken.
Smash Delta instils confidence in its clients through a clear and reliable process that has the ability to solve complex problems. This confidence is conveyed through the brand with the combination of declarative copy writing, bold typography and bright colour.
Generate Wealth is a boutique financial advice firm based in Sydney, Australia. With its staff having provided expert planning and guidance for twenty years, it serves as the personal coach and confidant of its clients, helping them through the early stages of their careers, through to senior and executive positions and beyond.
Generate Wealth was created in late 2017, branching off to extend the growth of its parent company, Generate. The new business sought a brand that would both align with Generate – thereby carrying over its heritage of respectability and value – yet appeal in a novel way to their specific market of high net worth individuals.
As applies to all our client projects, it was imperative that we started with a firm understanding of the market positioning of Generate Wealth, and distilling through our Brand Canvas process, what the brand stands for.
This distillation we anointed with the phrase: Carpe Futura, or Seize the Future – a twist on the well-known, carpe diem. The phrase was a clear expression of Generate Wealth’s spirit, capturing how the brand encourages its clients to focus on their core financial goals over the long term.
The phrase also resonates with the company’s own rooted philosophy of loyalty and commitment – a point of difference against the heftier-sized competition. Client and staff relationships are forged with strong, lasting bonds; consultations don’t take place over a matter of hours, with superficial solutions dished out at the end. Instead, the company offers decades – even lifetimes – of continual improvement for whoever they work with, providing ongoing learning opportunities and unfailing support.
From the ideas and values contained in the essence of Carpe Futura we investigated a series of conceptual directions, before landing on the idea of a single, dynamic line. It represents, we discovered, several aspects of the brand: a path, a journey, a guide or the passage of time. The continuity of the line demonstrates that everything in a life is related: the decisions you make now will affect your future, and, with the right guidance, those decisions can have a compounding, positive effect.
Taking this core design element, we translated it across Generate Wealth’s online and digital presence through custom visual graphics and layouts to ensure a coherent brand identity.
The brandmark was designed to be flexible and adaptable across different contexts, able to change its colour and form depending on the situation.
One of the challenges identified for Generate Wealth was the danger of being overlooked. Despite the eminence of its parent company, as a financial provider it nonetheless risked being perceived as a completely new startup.
To overcome this succinctly, we created a bold, fresh palette. Rather than cloaking the brand in the imitation colours of blues, greens and greys that coat the financial planning brandscape, we put forward a not-so-common (and hence noticeable) choice: purple. A deep, dignified violet was applied as a staple background colour, where a lighter and more energetic violet hue was used for hyperlinks, content blocks, outlines and linear graphics.
Additionally These colour values complemented Generate’s primary palette of Generate Blue and Citrus. Violet in particular sits at the visual midpoint on a colour wheel between the two Generate colours, forming a harmonious spectrum.
In keeping with the brand’s concept of a single line to represent time and movement, all graphics designed for Generate Wealth were created with just one line (or, at least, give the illusion of such). This line formed the building block for a unique icon set, typographic images for marketing and branding purposes, and a more complex animation that features just below the fold on the website’s home page.
To mitigate the widely-held impression that finance is ‘boring’, we crafted graphics so that they appeared accessible, simple and relatable. They intend to evoke a feeling of warmth, rather than make the viewer think: ‘I never want to think about insurance/investment/wills again’.
The animation in particular contains a wry sense of humour: a seated, moustachioed and rather serious looking gent is whisked away from a boring office desk to a tropical setting. Seemingly effortlessly, the man himself does not move while all this change occurs around him – only giving a very small grin when a cocktail appears before him at the end.
The Generate Wealth brand has been successfully rolled out across its website, email signatures and LinkedIn, its sole social media platform. The company is also incorporating it across various other applications, including posters, business cards, stationery, and other marketing collateral as needed.
Aurasens is a startup design company and manufacturer of luxury lounges headquartered in Paris. Their debut lounge, the Voyager, pairs high-fidelity audio with a proprietary technology called vibro-haptic composition (VHC) in the form of a luxury lounge.
Aurasens founders Olivier Zeller and Nicolas Leroy had built their first draft of a concept chair – a luxury, seated, multisensory product for an elite market. A latent idea rather than a readily available item, communicating Aurasens to partners and prospects was both complex and critical to the business going forward. At the time, its primary online presence was a basic landing page – a stopgap website created to ‘park’ the domain space and make it possible for interested individuals to get in touch.
As the Aurasens enterprise grew closer to market-ready fruition however, the duo recognised it was time to enter into a new stage of development. Part of this involved developing a website which would more accurately and more elegantly convey the character of their brand and how it was positioned in the external market. Hastening them along this path towards change was an urgent prompt in the form of feedback: people were telling them directly they were confused about what exactly the lounge offered – what purpose it served and what it was, in its essence. In order to undertake niche marketing effectively, it was imperative for the company to overcome this communication challenge and make clear the visceral experience of the product through simple, engaging design.
At Nerve, out task was to build a website which would align with Aurasen’s new phase of maturity. They were at a singularly exciting – and singularly challenging – juncture in their business journey. Still in seed stage, they assumed the role of visionaries: demonstrating prototypes at conferences and fairs, gradually raising funds as the debut model edged closer to being manufactured into sales-ready reality.
As the primary objective guiding our revamp of the site’s architecture and content, we set about removing all ambiguity which risked confusing site visitors and demotivating on-site action.
Our solution was to create a concept for a narrative-style landing page – one which would eschew finicky technical details in favour of a powerful, evocative and alluring idea. Using immersive images and stripped-back copy in a tiered scrolling linear hierarchy, we leveraged this strategy of storytelling to express key messages in a coherent way.
When selecting photography to feature on the site, we made sure that the images all ‘spoke’ to each other in the same key, and were composed in such a way to convey the look, feel and style of Aurasens. Visual treatment was applied to the chosen photographs to capture the elegance of the brand’s unique offering – washing the site with dusky, muted and sensual colour tones.
When it came to the brand visuals of the website, we recognised that the Aurasens product offering was a little alien in its opulent futurism. As such, we worked to create a visual experience that would reflect this ‘strange yet seductive’ quality, while ensuring that it not be so ‘out there’ as to be inaccessible. Every detail on the site was crafted bespoke to fit the brand. For example, we animated the Aurasen’s logo as a pre-loader, conveying with simplicity the underlying vibration pad technology. And the small circles in the graphic served as a connecting element in the left-hand navigation menu to the landing page that follows. The combined result of this was to substantiate Aurasens’ high-end product positioning.
The client expressed satisfaction across the full scope of the project. It is moreover something of a testament to our positive, committed relationship with the client that we were able to deliver it in its entirety across two very different time zones (the distance: some 10,000km) and in two different languages (French and English).