Behind-the-Brand | Infinity by CFS
Updated: Mar 24, 2020
One of the things we love most about designing a new or rebranded identity is the power it has to help our clients reach their full potential. Branding is transformative and empowering when built on strategy.
Introducing INFINITY powered by Constellation Financing Systems (CFS), an amalgamated software solution that streamlines front and back offices functions enabling customers to scale an unlimited number of efficient operations to meet their diverse day-to-day enterprise needs.
We thrive on collaboration, so it helps when we work with inspiring people who are passionate about what they do, just like us!
We were elated with the results of the Infinity product’s identity launch. To give you the full story, here’s a behind-the-brand look at the complete process of how the branding was developed.
ONE (1) | DISCOVERY
Since clients know their business and industry best, they have a valuable role to play in the design process. The initial step includes the completion of a discovery consultation questionnaire, so we can get to know the business inside and out, before beginning any strategy and design development.
Constellation Financing Systems reached out to us, recognizing the need for a professional image before (truly) launching their new software product. Their mission is to become the foremost expert in the equipment finance industry.
TWO (2) | STRATEGY
Our branding approach is built by combining strategy + creativity. We listen first and then learn what makes our clients idiomatic, diving deeply into their industry, studying the challenges and nuances of how companies in their sector grow. We learn about their competition, research what makes them ambitious and how we can build a strategy that stands out. In the end, we use all this information to curate and carefully blend together our client's strengths and what makes their business unique.
Next, we create a written brand strategy to define how we communicate the proposed vision. This forms the creative brief and guidelines to refer to when the concept design begins.
Within the discovery questionnaire, we asked Constellation Financing Systems for a selection of adjectives that they felt best described their business and product. They answered with the following:
Together with our industry and competition research, these words informed the brand strategy for the new INFINITY product identity.
Next, the mood board and colour palette (shown below) was curated to visually convey the feeling described in the brand strategy. The mood board sets the tone of the proposed brand identity and very importantly, ensures our thoughts run parallel with our client. We must be in agreement on visual direction before proceeding to the concept stage.
The INFINITY brand strategy was built upon the established Constellation Financing Systems (CFS) identity, leveraging the pre-existing authority the client has in the financial equipment leasing software industry. Launching INFINITY as an amalgamated platform of the client’s popular EDGE and ASSET products, demonstrated business agility and increased investment in brand equity.
We looked at developing this brand extension by drawing from the parent brand colours in conjunction with proven shape theory and marked refinements to typography to present an elevated look for the INFINITY product. The overall style direction parallels the traditions of corporate design that emphasizes cool tones and clean lines to convey a strong and bold aesthetic.
Comprehensive, configurable and cost-conscious, the web-based application speaks volumes in a fraction of a second, instantly setting a mood of professionalism. The approachable and friendly quality empowers business operations with a highly flexible finance solution for the entire equipment leasing lifecycle. INFINITY’s limitless possibilities streamline the eight (8) main front and back office functions enabling customers to scale an unlimited number of efficient operations to meet the customer’s diverse day-to-day enterprise needs.
The combination of blues with yellow is striking and fittingly reminiscent of the night sky, purposefully associated with the (CFS) brand’s theme. With the addition of light and dark greys to the palette, we evoke a timeless and sophisticated vibe. Colour is a powerful branding tool used to transform identities into a subconscious emotional experience by instantly stimulating aspirations, instilling trust and connecting the mission with your market's purpose.
Midnight (Dark Blue) projects dependability and stability with links to formality, conveying confidence, power and authority. Blue is determined, self-sufficient, loyal, goal-oriented and intelligent. It works well in the financial industry as it is defined by credibility, trustworthiness and reliability.
Similarly, Cobalt (Bright Blue) inspires integrity with the feeling of trust and the state of responsibility. The mixing in of this brighter hue levels out the dominance of the darker shade, aiding in decision-making and clear thinking.
Goldenrod (Yellow) as an accent is designed to inject a 'pop of bright’ as it is characteristically the colour of innovation and intellect. Yellow produces a warming effect conveying; super-charged energy. The colour of sunshine is uplifting, enthusiastic and illuminating. Yellow grabs attention and stimulates the mind, demonstrating INFINITY as a bold, successful and confident web application.
Rounding out, the colour story is Silver and Slate (Grey) the hues of knowledge and wisdom. Silver is perceived as long-lasting, high-tech, sleek and refined. It is dignified, conservative and carries immense authority, making it an ideal fit for the financial software industry. Greys overall, act as neutral hues, that are timeless with an air of sophistication, pairing well and complimenting with more bold colours by balancing the palette.
In addition to colour, shapes play an important role in the development of an identity. Often the most innovative approaches that happen in the background, gives a brand its layered and deeper meaning.
Squares and rectangles are synonymous with logic, certain, trustworthiness and order. Since agility and knowledge are central to the brand’s motivations this makes the shape a perfect fit.
On the mood board, the vertical lines communicate commitment and strength, goals and progress. While the horizontal lines give a sense of movement, conveying futuristic and tech-savviness, all aligning with the ingenuity of the INFINITY product.
The inclusion of circles, rings and loops signify completion and wholeness. The infinity or lemniscate (∞) symbol is endlessness and the limitless concept describes this robust software solution that knows no bounds. It symbolizes the everlasting relationship between two functions, effectively teaching us a way of understanding how seemingly irreconcilable opposites can be united. INFINITY provides a new perspective to centralize the gathering and passing of data, streamlining the business system of processing.
The iconic constellation made of the four-pointed (isotoxal) stars used in the (parent) brand’s wordmark will be expanded upon to tie back to an infinity loop symbol.
The most profound advancements of the proposed strategy will be reflected in the use of typography, as it fundamentally builds brand personality.
Constellation’s novelty typeface (Galaxy BT) literally parallels the company’s space theme, however, we felt the resemblance to engraved or chiselled capitalized letters left the wordmark; tired, out-of-date and a bit of a cliché. The single weight (of the typeface) held back the flexibility of design, rendering the scalability nonexistent.
To get this typeface re-energized for the brand extension, we suggested sharpening the glyphic/tapered (triangular) serifs into an ownable mark that will encapsulate the out-of-box innovation synonymous with the INFINITY solution.
For the alternative concept design, we recommended a rounded geometric typeface, pairing it with a new-grotesque sans-serif (both with multiple weight variations) resulting in a typography set that has a futuristic and tech-driven character that won't lose sight of professionalism.
To further inject elements of design, we presented the use of photo-real imagery that either incorporate the colours from the brand palette or are colour-graded to suit. This strategy elevates the brand presence, adding dramatic dimension in a polished way.
THREE (3) | CONCEPTS
After defining the visual brand direction, it was time to begin developing the logo concepts – our favourite part of the process! Our strengths lie in creating brand identities that translate our clients' vision and bring their message to life in a visual way.
The greatest challenge of creating a brand identity is incorporating several aspects into the design while still keeping it simple.
We had several considerations in mind during this stage, including:
Leveraging the pre-existing authority in the financial equipment leasing industry
Keeping the design versatile and functional
Encapsulating the business philosophies
Creating a broader appeal to secure untapped global markets
As always we start by using pencil and paper to brainstorm visual ideas. From there the ideas with the most potential are refined.
Since design is subjective, we provide clients with a choice, by presenting two (2) different concepts that we confidently believe answer the directive.
However, a brand identity is more than just a logo; it’s a complete visual system, that should add depth and personality to the brand. This structure gives our clients the confidence to implement and grow.
As part of the concept presentation, we also deliver a brand storyboard that includes the other design elements needed to complete the visual identity— secondary logo, submark, colour palette, typography, patterns and social signatures. In addition, digital in use renderings are developed to showcase how each concept could appear in real-life applications.
For both concepts, the subjective elements were extracted to showcase the systematic approach used to create the abstract and monogram icons.
CONCEPT 1 - Abstract Infinity Star Logomark
This concept design is a true Constellation Financing Systems (CFS) brand extension with the use of its colour palette and typography. The abstract icon was created by combining an isotoxal star (derived from the CFS logo) and circles that are synonymous with completion and wholeness. The interlocking circles (or rings) are a direct correlation to Infinity’s amalgamation of front and back office functions. The vertical lines communicate commitment and strength, goals and progress, while the horizontal lines give a sense of movement, conveying futuristic and tech-savviness, all aligning with the ingenuity of the Infinity product. The Infinity star logomark radiates limitless possibilities for a robust software solution that knows no bounds. The monochromatic blues show that the brand is associated with dependability and stability, linking to formality, while conveying confidence, power and authority. The pop of yellow produces a warming effect; conveying super-charged energy that is uplifting, enthusiastic and illuminating. Constellation’s novelty typeface (Galaxy BT) was procured and re-energized by implementing sentence case lettering and sharpening some of the glyphic/tapered serif ascenders into an ownable wordmark that encapsulates the out-of-box innovation synonymous with the Infinity solution.
CONCEPT 2 - Abstract INFINITY Monogram
This concept design presents INFINITY in a new perspective, propelling the SaaS solution into a tech-driven arena marked specifically by the use of geometric, sans serif typography. The INFINITY monogram unites the letter ‘C’ that stands for the parent company's first initial and a ten (10) star constellation that symbolizes the combined main features and functions (eg; Mobility, Client Portal, CRM, Origination, Credit, Syndications, Document Management Funding + Booking, Portfolio Management, End Of Term + Inventory) of the new web-based application. The amalgamation of the “C” and “O” to form the INFINITY mark represents the product’s core attributes, COmprehensive, COnfigurable and COst-Conscious. The blend of Midnight and Cobalt blues inspires integrity and represents credibility, trustworthiness and reliability. The inclusion of grey, speaks to the brand’s refined and dignified nature, carrying immense authority. Yellow is used as an accent, designed to embody innovation and intellect. It grabs attention and stimulates the mind, demonstrating INFINITY as a bold, successful and confident web application. The wordmark injects high contrast with the pairing of sans serif Roboto, (a nod to the Perseus Group's branding) with a new rounded geometric typeface. The union results in a clean yet simple existence that parallels INFINITY's expandability and high-tech modern character, yet never loses sight of professionalism.
Both concepts were meaningful branding options. The initial feedback was very positive resulting in the team taking some time to debate and deliberate the concepts. In the end, the client felt the fresh perspective of the abstract monogram was the way to go.
FOUR (4) | REFINE AND BUILD
No revisions were necessary. Due to our considered design approach, we usually have minimal design refinements, if any at all.
To put it simply, this is the process of designing all the other items that will be needed to communicate and launch the new brand identity. For this new brand, we created an animated logo that will be integrated into the software’s interface.
FIVE (5) | LAUNCH
Altogether, this process took 6-weeks. The client launch package always includes a plethora of logo files for both print and web use; including all the brand elements, colour palette, patterns and typography (font files). Thanks to the brand storyboard, the client understands how to use the new brand identity going forward.
For all our brand identity clients, we offer an ongoing design service to ensure that future projects align with the new branding.
This brand extension was a great success. The logical association between the parent brand and the new INFINITY software expands the client's authority in the equipment leasing market, giving them industry credibility with an end-to-end web-native, cloud-based SaaS for the complete asset lifecycle. The strategy boosts the client's reputation as a fintech market leader generating buzz for Constellation Financing Systems’ future growth.
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