Strategy – Identity – Digital – Collateral
Downing, who have raised and invested over £1.6 billion into businesses that make a difference, including renewable energy and care homes, commissioned Branch following a competitive tendering process, to breathe new life into their brand and identity. The aim was to produce a solution that would inspire employees and clients alike. The outcome was an identity that had the ability to be individually personalised and to bring their clients into their story.
An inclusive symbol
The symbol is a graphic interpretation of Downing’s investment community, portraying Downing as an integral centrepiece, perfectly connecting the outer sections that represent the investors and investee companies. The symbol is also a lens, demonstrating how Downing view an investment from every perspective. Further to this, the symbol can be personalised by every member of the team, flooded with imagery it depicts the differing personalities that make Downing who they are.
We ran a series of workshops within the Downing offices which took place over two days. These sessions proved to be an invaluable source of insight which in turn produced the foundations for the ongoing brand development.
The Downing story
One of the key findings from our research and workshops was based around Downing’s ambition and determination to ‘do the right thing’ by investing in and supporting businesses that make a difference. This, paired with the importance they place on growing their investment community, became key aspects of the Downing story. An excerpt of which can be seen below.
Although not formalised in any kind of style guide, Avenir was already being used within Downing’s marketing collateral, so it made sense to retain it. Especially as it worked perfectly with our approach. We then selected Garamond, to add a level of contrast and maturity and to reflect Downing’s history and reputation.
The Downing Brand Guide encapsulates everything that Downing is. From the core brand statements, to their full story and the identity style guide. The identity guide includes detailed accounts of everything from typographic styles to colour palettes; documenting how to consistently apply the Downing look.
People are at the heart of Downing, so portraying them accurately was of the utmost importance. We commissioned photographer Simon Jarratt to create portraits of each and every person, directors and interns alike. Simon also shot a series of locations, focusing on capturing striking angles that perfectly complemented the graphic visual language.
From business cards, to folders, to personalised brand packs and event t-shirts. The visual language we developed was applied to the full suite of collateral creating a unified set of stationery.
Due to the nature of their business, Downing produce a large amount of publications, both printed and digitally. Annual and half yearly reports, application forms, investment guides and brochures – a clear distinction was needed between each. We worked closely with the marketing team to create a series of templates that they could populate in house and that clearly defined each type of communication.
One of the largest parts of any identity is its online presence. We worked with our digital partners, Make it Clear, on the information architecture, user experience, user interface and development of the new site. Our client was involved every step of the way to ensure the final delivery communicated Downing’s proposition. The website can be seen at downing.co.uk.
Branding an environment
To further engage employees with the new identity and to help create a complete brand experience for clients, we collaborated with our sister company, The Graphical Tree, to produce these large format graphics. We also commissioned three triangular frames to act as a gallery space within the staff area – an ever changing realisation of the personalised symbol.
“Branch have been brilliant from day one. Their emphasis on getting to know a brand inside out and build a strong identity with meaning is what set them apart and we love what they’ve created for us. The results are full of life and have had real impact. Everything is done to the highest standard and turned around quickly. They are so easy and enjoyable to work with and I would recommend them to anyone without hesitation.”
Marketing Director – Downing