Branding for Northzone by Ragged Edge — BP&O
Text by Richard Baird.
Northzone is an early stage venture capital fund with the knowledge to overcome the funding hype and recognize strong teams that are doing a good job. From their offices in London, Stockholm and New York, they work with founders on the Seed, Series A and Series B stages across Europe and America. London-based Ragged Edge partnered with Northzone to create a brand identity that puts founders ahead of numbers and positions the boutique company as the first choice. Based on the truth about hype and character about the size of an investment opportunity, Ragged Edge developed a visual language reminiscent of that of the editorial. This is expressed in a bold logo / imprint, dynamic layouts that are shaped by stories, and an understandable tone of voice. Here, digital experiences for mobile devices and desktops as well as printed surfaces such as business cards, newsprint, posters, books and invitations are linked together.
“The industry is characterized by flying colors. Everyone supports game changers and everyone discovers outliers. Northzone's experience means that they can overcome the hype and find out the truth about the team. They build their relationships on this common basis. That is why we put the strength of character and not just the size of the possibilities at the center of your brand. “- Jagged edge.
The logo is beautifully processed. In the digital as well as in the printed context, it keeps small and above all large as an imprint. It is immediate, evokes and alludes to the heritage press, and in a broader sense the truth in its placement perfectly creates the editorial visual language that holds the following content and a multitude of points of contact together.
Every surface is a space to tell a story. The business cards are no different as General Partner Paul Murphy offers a brief background. Marrs Sans condensed, justified text, black ink and white board, and the two pages that are presented like a folded newspaper are a thoughtfully editorially inspired detail. Without the restraint and reach that exists across the brand identity program, this could have been a gimmick.
Where the business card plays with something that is closer to a newspaper article, the book continues to move towards an independent fashion magazine in color, a transparent cover and pocket full of colored postcards from brands with which Northzone has worked. It appears as a credible background to some compelling success stories without being overshadowed by big brand names. The masthead logo at the top keeps things together.
Sometimes the editorial concept appears more literally than a piece of newspaper printing or digital layout, based on the publications that surprise each week with dynamic layouts that are in tune with the story (read the New York Times Magazine). Placing stories at the center of their communication is a smart strategic step that humanises and connects and moves away from inflated egos and embellished characters. This is supported by two color palettes, brand driven and content driven, which describe and provide the reach.
While much of the work is dynamic and has many different layouts, an underlying grid system appears to be in place. Editorial as a brand is a fascinating idea, but as a brand identity system it has to be systematized somewhat in order to be consistently provided, to leave enough space for new and different communication options and to make it easy for others to provide it. For the most part, it seems that Ragged Edge has worked a lot in the first round of communication and hopefully will be able to maintain this standard in the future.
Design: Ragged Edge. Opinion: Richard Baird. Fonts: Marrs Sans.
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