By Christian Clansky
Once we landed on the name Upswell, we knew the bar for the brand had been raised quite high. We would need a brand environment as energetic and moving as the name. It would have to be engaging, memorable, flexible, energetic, on-trend, evocative, consistent, emotional, lasting…basically, we knew we needed a truly remarkable partner to help us create Upswell’s visual identity.
We were ecstatic (and very lucky) to find that partner in Fathom Creative, a DC-based brand creative agency with the perfect mix of enthusiasm, experience, and talent. We asked the Fathom team to share a few insights about how the brand took shape.
CC: They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Putting beauty aside for a moment, what do you hope people behold when they look at the Upswell brand? What did you want to communicate?
Fathom: Upswell revolves around positive change and empowering changemakers across the world. We wanted to harness that same hope and energy in the visual brand by communicating movement, energy, hope, and collaboration. When someone encounters the brand, our hope is that they feel inspired to create positive change. Our goal was to create a dynamic brand for a dynamic conference.
Movement // Positive Change
The logo takes multiple shapes, but the various instances are actually different orientations of the same form. The fluidity of this logo mark combined with the wave-like pattern incorporated in the brand materials create a sense of forward motion, like the ever-changing motion of a rising swell and the rippling impact of positive change.
Energy // Inspired to Action
We also used a lot of bright, energizing colors to breathe life into the brand. Upwell is harnessing the energy of passionate people whose powers combined can inform change and inspire action, and we aimed to replicate that energy in our color palette.
Hope // A Bright Future Ahead
The fresh typography, bright gradients, and fluid shapes come together as a really innovative, forward-facing look and feel that are representative of Upswell’s dedication to the cultivation of a bright future.
Collaboration // Better Together
One of the most distinct aspects of the conference is the opportunity to collaborate with people who are doing good in the world. The conference is actually shaped by the unique experiences of the people involved which is communicated through the morphing forms and colors.
CC: The visual brand is very soft and curvy and organic, as opposed to hard and geometric. What was your reasoning there?
Fathom: The logo and brand patterns were born out of the idea of a rising swell’s power, ever-changing forms, and sense of motion. It embraces movement, change, and fluidity that disrupts traditional logo conventions. Hard lines and geometric shapes can sometimes convey an impersonality or edginess that we didn’t think was appropriate for Upswell. Collaboration is such a fluid form of communication, so those fluid shapes more accurately represent the tone of the conference.
CC: What was the biggest challenge for you in creating this brand?
Fathom: The biggest challenge was to create a brand that accurately expresses the excitement of the conference. We especially wanted to make sure that the energy of the logo wasn’t lost in the rest of the brand materials. Even if you have a great logo, it could fall flat if you don’t carry that personality into the rest of the brand. With all of our concepts, we wanted to make sure that the branded materials inspired the same kind of action and motion as the logo. Introducing the bright color palette with a wide selection of gradients and patterns really helped keep the look and feel as unique and energetic as the logo.
CC: On the flip side of the previous question, what most excited you about the project?
Fathom: Our positive chemistry. Like every relationship, the choice to collaborate has to be mutual and Upswell made our toes curl. Also, our team is really driven to: (1) be creative, and, (2) do good. So, when an opportunity comes along to combine those—we get really, really, excited! We could tell even after our first conversation with the team at Upswell that they were going to be a great partner, because they shared our interest in doing good and they really are so passionate about what they do. Conferences are an inherently fun branding challenge, but we especially enjoyed this project because we could channel our talents to inspire positive change.
Christian Clansky is the director of marketing and digital strategy at Independent