About A Brand
Late last year Future Büro was tasked with developing a brand identity for a new and exciting start-up. The idea presented to us strived to simplify and enhance the way temp workers and companies connect with each other, in a streamlined, integrated platform.
Our ambition was to set a benchmark for the recruitment industry. There was a good concept and an interesting idea, but no name, no brand. We spent around 3 weeks brainstorming and considering a suitable name. Working closely with the client we articulated a vision and a set of values that concisely captured the personality for the brand. We wrote positioning statements, we had more meetings, and we narrowed down a list of ideas we all got really excited about internally. We knew it had to be right. It had to mean something. It had to provide a domain name. Most importantly, it had to be honest, creative and unique.
A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person, so we started thinking about what the reputation of this yet-to-be-named platform would be. What impact could it have on the industry, and what would its role be? From there, the narrative that developed started guiding the naming process and distilled the business to a single word. That word was ‘Envoy’, a word not often used in the english language that means messenger or representative – referring to the platform as a trusted middleman between the temp worker and the employer. The Tom Hagen to Vito Corleone, only more trustworthy. Through the trials and tribulations of crafting a brand around a word, the brand-name evolved into ‘Nvoi’. I know what you’re thinking, in times of Flickr and Tumblr dropping a vowel may seem like the thing to do these days, but we felt it provided a solid base for an aesthetically pleasing, internationally marketable brand ID.
With all that in mind and a name in place, we started working on the branding. Our mission was to create a coherent identity with a visual expression that differed from the online competitors. In terms of visual direction we knew we wanted Nvoi to be simple, feel refined and contemporary. This is our philosophy with all the work we produce, so it was the obvious direction for this project. To further highlight the idea of Nvoi as the middleman between temp workers and companies we developed an identity system in which a bold and modern uppercase ‘N’ is formed from a combination of a set of simple geometric shapes. The stems from the letter represent the temp worker and the company, and the stroke (diagonal portion) represents Nvoi as the connections between those two. We felt this approach was crucial, as the visual styling of the ID had to capture this idea of connection at the centre of the brand. The thick outline stroke adds a playfulness that subtly conveys the friendliness and welcoming aspect of the brand. We experimented with different frames around the mark; circles, rectangles and squares. But nothing felt right, and we decided to leave it open and use this negative space to evoke the sense of freedom a temp worker has. The styling of the stems and aperture of the N guided the supplementary typographic word mark which is a heavily customised version of the typeface ‘Maison Neue’, by Berlin-Zurich-based type-foundry Milieu Grotesque, which is a traditional yet contemporary-looking Sans Serif that stands out thanks to its clean lines and friendly appearance. We wanted the typography to feel simple and beautifully crafted, and this typeface felt just right. When a unique typeface is joined by a distinctive colour, a brand's identity becomes much easier to express, so we went monotone with a deliberately bright red, white and tones of grey. The pinkish red is hugely identifiable and features in many of the brand's expressions. By keeping things simple we allowed the message to communicate in its purest form. Over-designing for the sake of design would have conflicted with the message and purpose of Nvoi, and take away from this strong communicative approach.
A logo alone doesn't make a brand though, and how a brand speaks, how it presents itself, can’t be left to the unpredictable mood of the marketplace or some design trend. In order for both the word mark and the icon to either stand on their own or visually work together, we developed an extensive brand book to accompany the logo set. We could have quickly put together the usual sections on logo applications, minimum sizes, exclusion zone, and some typical branding jargon, but we wanted to develop something that was actually useful to the brand. The outcome is a clear and practical system that supplements the logo set and further enhances the brand experience. At the heart of the system is a flexible and scalable set of assets; line details, iconography, photographic and typographic principles, all of which take cues from the logo and form the DNA of the Nvoi brand. This was then used as a guide and a measuring device for the creative work that would eventually follow.
The nature of Future Büro's engagement was fully collaborative, and the journey that started with brand development continues to evolve through an ongoing series of deliverables, included a fully responsive website using a unique navigation bar, as well as company stationary, including folder, letterhead and business cards.
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