Design and diversity: we’ve got your corner

I’ve always been a big fan of people who do things a little differently. When businesses who are trying an unconventional business plan approach me to work with them, I’m immediately curious. I can’t help taking these projects personally as in many ways it echoes my own, somewhat circuitous career path to today. When I look back, I definitely knew what I was doing at the time, but figuring our exactly where I wanted to be down the line was always a little more fuzzy. Perhaps ambition comes in many forms. The same is true of many entrepreneurs starting out, wherever they come from, whoever they are. They invariably need financial backing from investors with a little imagination on the business side and a creative spirit too – an appreciation of design and diversity all at once.

This idea of founders coming from many different places appeals to me hugely – and it’s at the heart of a project we’ve been working on for the past year, a new venture capital fund called Cornerstone. The project has been particularly carefully considered at every stage, such that the end product is not only right for the enterprise, but to my eyes, particularly beautiful and fully realised.

Our brand design for Cornerstone VC

The Cornerstone icon: the one that took its sweet time...

In your corner

In my opinion, this logo is one of the most perfect financial services logo designs – actually for any kind of industry come to that – we’ve ever done. It’s been through so many iterations and versions, but interestingly we’ve ended up coming back to many of the elements that forged the concept at our first presentation. In particular the angled type to echo the name has been present since the beginning, as well as the colour palette which we’ve refined, but was essentially there in its first concept.

It’s that symbol that took its sweet time. It had to echo our design and diversity ethos by being really standing apart. Yet seeing it now, the finished version seems so perfect that it seems hard to believe any other idea was ever there. But just before writing these words, I took a look back at the design files and could hardly believe it. We went through dozens of ideas: iterations of this concept, numbers of shapes within the ‘c’ icon, as well as all sorts of other types of shape we tried to create. It was a great collaboration, particularly as the Cornerstone team immediately knew when we’d ‘got there’.

Of course, once complete, I decided that our fantastic logo needed to go further. It had to move.

Design and diversity

Turn a different corner

We’ve been working on animation for a while. There’s been a lot of video in our work in recent years, sometimes custom-shot work such as our project for ORIS, other times, a creative application of stock film has brought movement and interest to corporate work that made it stand out from the crowd. In addition, we’ve taken great pride in ensuring the branding on our recent sites uses pin-sharp vector graphics wherever we can. I’d also begun to increasingly see these vectors animate on sites across the web, bringing motion to the messaging, backing up what the sites were saying but providing fantastic visual style.

This simple, elegant technology barely takes any time to download, perfect for the high-resolution of phones where an extra second waiting for draggy data could mean a client lost. We’ve worked here once more with animator Carlo Teofilo, who brought our branding to life with a charming, fresh set of graphics that combine to deliver a sense of fun and surprise to every corner of this amazing website. If ever there was a sense of what I was thinking about in my central ‘design and diversity’ manifesto, this is it’s creative manifestation.

Design and diversity
Design and diversity

Corner the market

The final piece of the Cornerstone VC jigsaw has been the portfolio of investments they’ve made. Many of these companies weren’t even established when we began the design process and second-guessing how this part of the site would work was near impossible. In the event, everything came full circle. With a clearer sense of what would be on the page, the layout needed dividing between syndicate and VC investment and a more accessible cut through between these companies.

We decided to echo the ‘work, live, play’ concept that begins on the homepage and designed the page to be elegant, dynamic and clean with plenty of space to expand as the investment grow.

The end result of this project is a particularly striking piece of work I feel passionate about. It combines a gutsy use of type, bold motion graphics and a really strong identity. The business is driven by a strong set of personalities with a potent vision of what Cornerstone is and where it’s going.

Throughout the process, I’ve really appreciated that the team have really wanted to listen to our perspective, particularly when it comes to taking a punt on new technologies and unconventional ideas we’ve pitched. In that sense, we’ve all been entrepreneurs from the start.

With financial services branding, design and diversity go hand in hand

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 nobody quite gets your ideas and ethos, why not get in touch to discuss a 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.