New Horizon: ethical financial services branding finds a fresh frontier

A hot air balloon is an unusual prospect as the branding device of a firm of wealth managers. However, Horizon Private Wealth is no ordinary company nor Gareth Llewelyn-Williams just another fund entrepreneur. Our challenge was to contrive an original approach to ethical financial services branding and, given we wanted to be deeply proud of this fantastic brief, satisfy ourselves too. It was a sense of creative freedom by virtue of feeling one of the team ourselves from the outset.

Why the balloon? Firstly, taken literally, that vantage point gives a perspective where the landscape is spread out beneath you. The second is a more metaphorical notion, considering every aspect of what you’re doing from the top down. With this concept agreed, the project took on a life of its own.

Not all hot air

How did this balloon adventure begin? We were first approached by the marketing team at CF Wealth in May 2021 about working on a total rebrand. After a business acquisition, the time was right for a new name and a new era, with ‘integrity-driven advice’ at the heart of a new offering. After working up a variety of different naming ideas and concepts last July, eventually these were whittled down and Horizon Private Wealth was chosen.

This idea of responsible investment is bandied around a lot these days, but Horizon is going to have these core principles baked in. As a result, working on a truly ethical financial services branding project felt authentic and convincing from the start. There’s a trust and confidence in everything the team is aspiring towards. What can I say, it’s music to my ears and I’m proud to play a part in the project as a result.

With the name and a unique piece of branding design agreed, we’ve supported the new identity with a series of brand graphics inspired by hot air balloons. These inform the basis of every part of the graphic design of the firm, working as a background and frame for images too. That begins with stationery, then client-facing documentation, social media banners, email, signatures, PowerPoint templates and so on. There are a few of these below.

Our concept for a cotton Horizon tote bag with the pattern and branding - currently in production!

Up, up and away

The first major public-facing incarnation of the new brand is the new website which has just launched. We’ve gone to town on this fantastic site, working with some of the best in the business to create a truly fantastic blend of photography, video, animation, and typography.

The over-arching concept we had for the brand was to place their clients at the heart of the action, whether it be in person or to stand in their shoes, ‘surveying the horizon’ from their perspective. We considered hundreds of images and video clips, going back and forth countless times to assess what made the cut as ‘a Horizon visual’, selecting a set which felt right. which run throughout the site.

We bought the brand graphics to life with a set of vector animations, giving movement to the site such that the design seems to unfold and breathe across every page. The distinctive use of typography is led by Orleans, a face by Commercial Type which we’ve applied in as large a size as the site would bear, meaning it felt readable and every crisp line and cut of the design was visible.

The end result is a project which launches Horizon Private Wealth with some panache, appearing in two distinct versions (but a single set of pages) in the UK and Hong Kong, where financial regulations require specific disclaimers and other subtle differences.

I continue to be thrilled by the possibilities technology offer – for instance, we’ve consolidated from the previous two sites to one, smartly avoiding a ton of duplication, by using location-based IP-address detection.

It’s been incredibly satisfying to work across the world with an amazing team on a project we really believe in. I can’t wait to see where our hot air balloon takes us next.

Interested in ethical financial services branding? Look no further.

If you’re planning a new fund launch with a particular specialism on ESG, wherever in the world you might be, why not get in touch to discuss a wide range of different approaches? We can work on designs from the simple to the sensational, depending on your brief and budget.

Call us on 020 7351 4083 or email us direct.