Communion branding holds two fingers up to financial precarity

Uncommon worked with Communion to build an identity for the money-saving app around the notion of freedom, with “witty” iconography and messaging.

Uncommon and Communion have revealed a new money-saving app centred around the idea of financial freedom, featuring a metallic, 3D logo of a broken chain.

Created in the context of the cost-of-living crisis, with rising interest rates and pay freezes, Communion hopes to enable a generation of people lacking financial security to start saving money.

According to Communion’s research, with a survey of 18–40-year-olds carried out by OnePoll, as many as 94% reported suffering from money anxiety, with it being a daily concern for one in four, and half of respondents believing “they will never have enough money”.

Uncommon founder Nils Leonard explains that the studio has had a relationship with Communion’s CEO and founder Daniel Hegarty, since working on rebranding his mortgage app Habito.

As soon as Hegarty introduced the idea for Communion, it “just sounded like an Uncommon brief”, Leonard says. The London-based studio took on the role of creative partner to Communion, as well as contributing to its £2.5m in pre-seed funding raised to date.

According to Leonard, existing financial services are doing little to allay people’s fears, with forums full of people “dumping their vitriol [about] their experiences of money and saving”.

Looking to change the conversation, Communion is for those who “want to live life with more autonomy and less fear”, says Hegarty. Whether that be wanting to “go on holiday, move to a nicer area” or “just feel less anxious about money”, the way isn’t “hustling, get-rich-quick-schemes or meme stocks – it’s saving”, he says.

Starting with the name, early discussions looked at how community can enable people “to change things together and look after each other”, Leonard says. The app looks to provide the necessary skills, mindset and knowledge to build savings, with the help of the member community as well as a team of “Money Guides”.

Taking the core idea of savings as a route to freedom, a logo and wordmark was designed featuring the ‘C’ of Communion as a broken link in a chain.The logo version sees the broken chain rendered in 3D with a chrome-finish, floating against a bright but clouded sky.

Across the branding, sky-blue is one of a set of real-world references that inform the colour palette – alongside lawn green, rose pink, sun yellow – which are also used in a gradient, or overlaid with a graph-paper inspired grid to reference financial planning.

The broken chain is one of a family of chrome-plated 3D icons suggestive of Monopoly pieces – including a four-leaf clover, an hourglass, and a hand with two-fingers up – all in reference to the brand’s founding principles.

Defining the tone of voice are phrases like “saving is freedom”, “wealth is invisible” and “save enough to save yourself” – as well as drawing on writer Paulette Perhach’s notion of a “fuck off fund”, which introduces money as a way to protect you from bad situations such as “dodgy effing landlords”and “loser effing boyfriends”. “What if we could say fuck off to all those things?”, Leonard says.

An accompanying campaign film shows an imagined Communion user confronting flatmates, boyfriends and in a “surprise cameo”, Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews, all with a two-fingered salute.

While Communion’s provocative tone is designed to encourage conversation, Leonard adds “if you’re going to try and own a theme as big as freedom, a bit of self-knowing goes a long way”.

Communion could positioned as “a financial services app brought to you by the Beastie Boys”, he says, aptly launching with a limited-edition money box fashioned like an NME-award-like swearing hand.

With “a bit of visual wit throughout the whole brand”, Leonard says, “in the short term it immediately changes your conversation around money and saving, but I think in a year it will be incredible”.

Leonard explains that designers should seek to create design memorable enough to “stand for the idea of a brand” for years to come, while adding: “people assume you can’t mess with the rules of a category, or they it’s somehow naïve, childish to attempt to actually think you see the response to Habito when we did it, it taught us that people can”, Leonard says.

Communion’s branding can be seen across the app, website, social media and campaign – as well as merch – which Leonard hopes people might still be “rocking” in five years’ time. 

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