Justified Studio has designed the branding for new climate-focused social network Holi, with a visual identity inspired by organisational tools such as wireframes and highlighter pens.
Justified Studio was invited to pitch following previous a previous project for climate communications collective Earthrise, explains the studio’s founder and creative director Joshua Ogden. After winning the pitch for Holi, which was founded by German company the Holistic Foundation, “we were asked to build the story, brand, and roll out the product”, he says.
The process started with “immersion, lots of reading, and starting to think about what is happening across the landscape of these organisations”, Ogden says.
While there is a plethora of “amazing organisations across the charity sectors”, he says, “at the intersect” there is a role for tech such as Holi. Aiming to function as a “Linkedin for sustainability”, Holi wanted to offer “a very simple product and a new form of social media where these voices, ideas and initiatives can come together to speak, share resources or put on events”, he says.
The studio built a brand “that celebrates the power of collaboration and unity”, working with the tagline “where ideas meet action”, Ogden says.
One of the challenges was the scale of Holi’s audience, he says. Looking to appeal to and offer a place for a diverse range of organisations, initiatives and individuals, the studio decided to work with “very simple styling and a framework to allow all of these ideas to be populated into”, he says.
“We really like the idea of it being a wireframe that people could start to populate”, adds designer Charley Ray. “It feels like the branding is very stripped back, but whole worlds get built up with people’s stories and ideas”, she says.
These wireframe elements are carried throughout the identity. Two connecting shapes, like those used elsewhere to house content, form the brandmark’s ‘h’ letterform, which “represents connections in the Holi ecosystem”.
Justified has also created a suite of icons, tags and call-to-action buttons, while photography and copy-led content also appears within wireframe shapes. “All the UI elements are from the product itself and displayed in a very simple way”, says Ogden.
As “everything is about meeting”, Ogden says, motion design is also key to the project. In animated elements, content blocks first appear on their own, before colliding and forming connections with others.
Taking inspiration from basic organisational tools, the primary colour is Paper Grey, with black and white acting as secondary contrasting colours. Four highlighter pen-inspired accent colours help differentiate information and “help the brand to feel active”.
Two typefaces used in combination also play with action: while the primary typeface – a sans serif by M22 called Catalogue – represents a “passive state”, highlight words use Colophon Foundry’s serif typeface Grenette in italic “to show things that are activated and moving”, adds designer Scarlett Chetwin.
Photography also favours action and features warm colours and human touch. “The photography style was based around user-generated content, so really candid, capturing these little moments where people are connecting and making change”, Chetwin says.
Acting simply as a “meeting point” the “humble” identity and tone of voice looks to instead amplify users’ content and “the contagious energy of collective action”, the studio explains.
The Holi branding has been launched across its website, with the full open-source app currently undergoing beta testing before its launch in Autumn 2023.