Shoot for the moon: our new venture capital brand and web design project

Everyone loves new beginnings. That visceral thrill of a totally fresh start. Some people thrive on the adrenaline of casting everything old to the four winds and reimagining their home, personal life… and of course, business. While I couldn’t live my entire life this way, for me there’s a jolt of this feeling every time I discuss a ‘blank slate’ project with a completely new client. It’s for this reason that I’ve never been able to resist working with a startup. There’s an amazing creative freedom that few other opportunities offer, so few barriers and preconceptions. In recent months a venture capital brand and web design project has fulfilled these impulses – for a new firm called Moonfire Ventures.

New moon

Moonfire is the brainchild of venture capital wünderkind Mattias Ljungman. We started talking with Mattias during the latter part of 2019 as he began work on this new fund, devising a typographic brand for the new business and starting to think what sort of visual language the company might have. At launch, Mattias signed every communication off with a moon/fire emoji pairing which I rather liked, so there was already a germ of charm and quirkiness to Moonfire. My sense was that our job was to capitalise on this.

Having lived in the world of VC for many years, Mattias had worked with and for startups time and again. Ultimately, the notion of ‘here’s my pitch…’ is in his blood. So when it came to working on his own brand, we had the interesting challenge of branding a startup – for a guy who lives and breathes startups.

By the time we began work on the website, we had a logo and a sense of direction but we needed some visual magic, an out-there, truly fantastic concept that was true to that startup spirit, but ultimately reflected the fact that Moonfire is an investor. It needed the steel of seriousness amid the pluck.

Lunar landing

While we had been talking about emojis, considering stock images of blood moons and various other options, it became clear to me that none of these quite struck the right, dynamic tone. Then, amid these conversations, the pandemic struck meaning that shooting custom corporate photography (one of our go-to routes for projects requiring a totally original visual look) was not really an option either. The extraordinary circumstances prescribed a completely different route.

Over the years, I’ve always wanted to work on a website which used original illustration throughout. We’ve often used this approach for print projects but never completed a digital project which collaborated with an artist. Thinking about the quirkiness of emojis as well as the original approach needed here – and an obsession Mattias has with vintage space graphics and boys’ own comics of the 1950s, I began to think that the best and only way of looking at this project was such a special artistic commission.

We approached artist Rob Ball, well known for his work for HBO’s Game of Thrones as well as book jackets, theatre projects and much else besides, to take a look at Moonfire. We had this idea of an otherworldly, intergalactic visual look, an alien yet not unwelcoming landscape that could be Moonfire’s own.

The results are nothing short of extraordinary.

Moonfire: landscape and portrait illustrations of the entrepreneurs behind key investments the fund has made, with Moonfire owner-founder Mattias Ljungman top/centre

Central to ‘the Moonfire vision’ is the relationship between Mattias, his team and the people behind the startups the fund is investing in and working with. Far from being bedroom or garage entrepreneurs, these hugely sophisticated people are the visionaries of our collective tech future. We were keen to place these extraordinary characters at the heart of the Moonfire website.

To achieve this, alongside the intergalactic landscapes, we commissioned a set of portraits of these owner-founder-entrepreneurs to put faces to these companies and give personality and warmth to the site. The full set of illustrated portraits is on the Moonfire homepage, with a selection of my personal favourites above.

Not just a phase

With the incredible set of Rob Ball’s illustrations in hand, the design of the website has been nothing short of a delight beginning to end. Working closely with the Moonfire team, we have devised a beautiful launch site using elegant animation technology to bring users closer to Moonfire’s vision. In a sense, designing a new FinTech website is, at launch, always going to be version 1 of a multi-stage, iterative process. We understand that well and build that into our client briefs but also overarching vision for websites.

I have long felt that websites, particularly involving technology and including investments and those that include thought leadership, are part of a process I think of as ‘incremental web design’, where the site is a living, evolving part of a business. It should grow with the company, expanding and acting as both an online statement of intent and key marketing tool.

It’s clear to me that for Moonfire this is just the beginning, both in terms of their growth as a VC fund but also the brand itself and web presence. It harks back to the prickle of excitement I always feel when we begin something new. The sense of potential and opportunity. That feeling is at the heart of this design project – and indeed Moonfire itself.

When you work in venture capital, great web design is a top priority

Working in the tech and investment side of financial services, great, original design is vital. If you’re working in the cutting edge, are just getting started – or feel your brand has got lost in the weeds, why not get in touch to discuss a wide range of different approaches?

We can work on designs from the creative to the corporate, depending on your brief and budget.

Call us on 020 7351 4083 or email us direct.