Comprehensive brand and web design for fund manager Baker Steel
When I talk to new clients, one of the first things I tell them is that we’re passionate about type. We understand that not every business can commission their own custom typeface – and with the enormous variety of incredible new hand-honed alphabets out there, I am not sure you need to. Why do I believe in this… and why I am I bringing it up now? Because I believe great type helps a business stand out, and when it comes to talking about what you can do for your clients, that statement might as well be beautiful, right? We’ve just completed a striking, year-long milestone project defining the brand and web design for fund manager Baker Steel which does just that.
It’s fantastic to see the project out in the world at long last (though it’s already seen action at an international trade fair, in print advertising and even appeared on a tote bag) but with the website finally launched, it’s time to reflect on a great piece of work which, guess what – stands out because it has incredible typography at its heart.
The new Baker Steel corporate identity
Invariably behind such a major project is an education received in an specialist industry which we may never worked with before. The background to what Baker Steel do, focussing on investment in a wide range of funds that focus on sustainability in the mining sector, as well as supporting the world’s transition to Net Zero, is one such example. We did a huge amount of research before beginning the project, in terms of deciding to work with a company that invests in mining. In particular, I was relieved to learn about the way in which Baker Steel views not only ensuring the avoidance of human exploitation as well as moving towards precision mining rather than open-cast. Then, most importantly, as this BBC News article sets out, to reach Net Zero, the world needs minerals which Baker Steel see as central to their investment programme. Finally, as with all of our clients, today Baker Steel has strict ethical and social governance criteria in terms of the firms they invest in – as is carefully detailed on the website we’ve gone on to design.
The project began with a brief to completely rethink the company’s identity. Baker Steel is a wide-ranging business but ultimately has been built on investing in minerals. As we began work, the idea of building a brand identity design project around the idea of creating sculptural forms became increasingly interesting to us. We saw a synergy between thinking creatively about ways in which rock can be carved and what minerals can actually do: seeing the potential in something creatively and scientifically.
My favourite sort of sculpture is one that takes rough-hewn material, smoothing surfaces and revealing the artists’ vision within. To build out from this way of thinking, we began to draw a range of soft sculptural shapes which felt distinctive and elegant. This really resonated with the team at Baker Steel, and so the new identity began to come to life.
The new identity used in signage at the firm's Dover Street offices
Business card design
The new branding used in a trade fair stand and tote bag we prepared for Baker Steel in January 2024
With any new project of this kind comes the need for both an identity as well as visual branding. We workshopped a wide range of ideas, in the end landing on a particularly successful concept using imagery created from ‘slices’ of colourful, backlit minerals. With the assistance of the team at Baker Steel, we sourced a set of these beautiful and striking images that represented the materials with which they associate themselves. In addition, we particularly enjoyed the idea of choosing minerals that echoed the new set of brand colours, anchored in Baker Steel’s new deep azure.
Things got even more interesting with the introduction of fund sub-brands, which ended up being key to the project. With our work on this rebrand, the business has reached beyond just a single logo: it now has a set of mini-identities for each of the different funds which are based in the UK, Luxembourg and Australia. In turn, each page has its own series of colour-specific images, reflecting the minerals in which Baker Steel invest across each.
The finished brand is a combination of a creative, original identity, carefully sourced imagery and the secondary fund brands with their own colour palette, creating a deeply satisfying considered, holistic corporate identity.
Baker Steel's fund sub-brands
Pages from the new Baker Steel website
From net zero to live numbers
The primary focus of this project was a completely new financial services website design. In fact, the new Baker Steel site amalgamates three different websites (for instance, one of their funds had its own until this new project was launched) within a set of pages which are deceptively simple. We are very familiar with addressing regulatory requirements, however this site was a particularly interesting challenge, addressing these across multiple international jurisdictions before a user has even started browsing. As a user arrives on the site, a set of terms requires a choice of location and professional or personal interest in the site which in turn determines the funds the user can review.
The other page where we did something really fascinating technically was for a fund called Baker Steel Resources Trust, where a detailed page has to somehow combine legal requirements and a set of embedded live elements provided by a third party firm, all carefully styled to look exactly like our website. This blends a combination of live share price data and graphs with similar information as well as regularly updated news data and a detailed data archive. While it might sound a touch on the technocratic side, we’ve never done anything like that before – and it looks great, which is always really satisfying.
Thereafter, the site contains a blend of familiar elements one would expect to see in a web design for a fund manager. Primarily, the site has a lot to convey, both in terms of being the first port of call for clients and investors, all in the most attractive way, and one that is easily digestible. To return to my original theme, while might sound simple, the success of this comes down to great type. I believe this project is such a great showcase for Meir B by General Type Studio and Suisse Works by Swiss Typefaces. They deliver a useful design with style and originality, something only beautiful typography can do.
Our project creating brand and web design for fund manager Baker Steel:
Could it be a blueprint for your business?
Working in the financial management industry in the City of London, modern, distinctive branding is vital. We know that in with ever-more discerning clientele, standing out is key. Perhaps your firm needs to sort the visual side of things? Get in touch to discuss a range of different approaches.
Whether you’re in the UK or work across Europe, 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.