London design consultancy Ragged Edge has crafted the new identity for impact investing app Circa5000, which imagines a world 2,978 years in the future.
Circa5000, formerly Tickr, is a mobile-based app which allows users to invest in a range of sustainable and socially-conscious businesses. According to the app, the companies it has invested in have produced 832m MWh of renewable energy over the past year.
It’s also part of a new wave of investment apps which target a new generation of investors – 80% of its users have never invested before. Last year, Design Week explored the trends in that growing sector.
As well as coming up with Circa5000’s new name, Ragged Edge has worked on brand strategy, the app’s visual identity as well as a new look for its website.
The rebrand was about reframing behaviour around ethical investing. “Our research showed that impact investing was seen as an altruistic act,” says Ragged Edge co-founder Max Ottignon. “While people have good intentions, when it comes to their money they tend to act in self-interest.”
A perception shift was therefore needed, or as Ottignon puts it, “reframing [impact investing] from a noble pursuit to a no-brainer”. “Good for people, planet, and – just as importantly – personal profit,” the designer adds.
“Arresting and new”
The name was the starting point for the new identity. “The concept came from imagining a world 2,978 years from now,” Ottignon says. In this imagined world, nature is thriving but it’s not clear if humanity is there.
This imagined future asks “whether we want to be around to see it,” he explains. The futuristic setting also aims to tell engaging stories around the contemporary crisis in a way that “felt arresting and new”, according to the designer.
The new identity hopes to mirror the way that Circa5000 works, the designer explains. “Circa5000 is taking a broken capitalist system and using it for good,” Ottignon says, “so it made sense to mirror that with the identity.” The team has repositioned the concept of a “generic future corp” as a “force for positive change”.
“Well-established conventions” around this concept influenced the visual identity – including its globe-shaped logo, graphic system and blue colour palette. However, the challenge was to “elevate [the identity] beyond satire”, Ottignon adds.
In an attempt to achieve this, the studio applied a level of finesse which the designer says is often “missing in those fictional future brands”.
On a product level, the brand had to be “slick, credible and easy to use”, he says, so the design team embraced “futuristic, techie details”.
For communications there was an opportunity to be more subversive, he explains. On billboards, images of natural landscapes are paired with copy such as ‘Invest in an intervention’.
What do you think of Circa5000’s new identity? Let us know in the comments below.