Select Page
This article was originally published on this site

“Low and Slow”

Established in 2008 (originally Gravis Capital Partners, GCP for short), Gravis is a privately owned investment manager in London, UK, specializing in investing in infrastructure assets that will be needed by the UK for many years like hospitals, schools, and student accommodation, which they use to offer four funds to its customers. Recently, the company introduced its new name and a new identity designed by London-based That Thing.

We gave Gravis a brand with equally long term ambitions. A Galapagos tortoise for a logo – steady, resilient, and with one of the longest life expectancies on the planet. The brand is designed to help the business to grow up and stand out. To show the creativity of the business, but feel steady and dependable. Architecturally. the system also creates a much needed difference between the fund manager and funds, helping to give managerbrand (Gravis) more freedom, and give the individual funds the status they deserve.

That Thing provided text

New Logo and Identity for Gravis by That Thing
Logo.

Once we settled on the ‘long-term’ positioning, the tortoise was always our front runner in the studio. He instantly made us smile, and he had the same reaction from the client. It was important that he had momentum, even when static. Steady not slow. There also needed to be a sophistication and restraint in the way he was drawn and the way he moved that made sure he and the world around him stayed charming not childlike. We gave them the ultimate symbol of ‘Steady’, the ‘Radical’ bit was that they were brave enough to go with it when a lot of people wouldn’t’.

That Thing provided text

New Logo and Identity for Gravis by That Thing
Logo animated.

There wasn’t much to the old logo other than some uncomfortably close letters that, to their credit, did manage to look like a financial organization of some sort — perhaps because the name sounded like “GDP”. The new logo is an extremely bold departure for anything fund- or investment-related both in concept and execution. Choosing to be a slow turtle is definitely radical in a time when everyone wants to be the hare or, better yet, the vulture that eats the fucking hare because that’s how competitive the world is. Not only is the choice of animal drastic but so is the execution, which is almost cartoonish and not exactly the style of drawing that screams “Invest your money here” but there is something charming, honest, and resilient about that turtle that makes the investment firm feel like a solid, sane, smart choice.

The execution could have been finessed a little more, especially its head, and double-especially when it turns to the sides (where the eyes look very weird) and it could be argued that it’s too child-like to represent an investment fund but when paired with investment-speak in the website and ads, I think it pulls off the trick. Perhaps choosing a less friendly font for the wordmark would have helped cement the turtle in the business world, whereas the rounded sans serif doubles down on the overly friendly aesthetic.


Key messages: Steadily Earning and Steadily Stormproof.
Brand video.

‘Radically steady’ gave us a helpful construct to frame the things that made Gravis different from the rest. Tonally, it felt like a good opportunity to simplify and breathe some life into tired industry terminology too – for example, ‘countercylical investment approach’ became ‘steadily stormproof’.

That Thing provided text

New Logo and Identity for Gravis by That Thing
Copywriting approach.
New Logo and Identity for Gravis by That Thing
Press ads.

The identity comes together at its best in the simple ads that pay off on the concept of the turtle and the notion of slow-and-steady-wins-the-race. The copywriting is simple but clear and straight to the point and given how some companies recently try to be way too clever or unintelligible with their tag lines and copywriting it’s nice to see something plain yet functional and that pays off on the visuals.

New Logo and Identity for Gravis by That Thing
Website.

We created a simple system for the funds to clearly communicate what they were about, celebrate their performance and showcase their assets. The fund logo box and fixed width font add some rigour and science to offset the softer nature of the manager brand. There’s beauty in everything they invest in, so big, textural images added a pop of colour across factsheets, annual reports, the website and the important but often overlooked ppt template. This visual framework, fit for future funds, now shines a light back onto the fund manager.

That Thing provided text

New Logo and Identity for Gravis by That Thing
Fact sheets.
New Logo and Identity for Gravis by That Thing
Fund pages.
New Logo and Identity for Gravis by That Thing
Annual report covers.

The fund materials are all decent and look good and… yeah, not much more else to say about those other than pointing out that the logo lock-up in the covers with the turtle leading the wordmark is a much better option than the centered version where the turtle looks gigantic. Overall, this is a daring investment in an identity that veers off a well-worn path and we’ll see if it pays off in the long term or if Gravis has to redesign in a few years because clients prefer the hares. Or the vultures.