We explore how Universal Favourite crafted a visual identity for a new fintech brand and how it helps raise its name above the noise.
The ever-changing world of fintech is an exciting field, but the level of competition is immense, to say the least. So for a company to stand out is a challenge indeed.
That's why x15ventures, an Australian venture scaler launched by CommBank, turned to Universal Favourite, a design studio based in Sydney, Australia, to craft them a visual identity that would really grab attention.
The studio, known for its work for clients including underwear brand Nala, men's online health clinic Mosh and Gen Z beauty brand Youthforia, came aboard to help bring create a strategy, visual and verbal identity for the emerging brand.
The result is a dynamic and ever-evolving system which supports x15venture's vision to expand emerging fintech startups' horizons, potential and opportunities.
x15ventures was launched in 2020 to scale early-stage ventures that could help reimagine CommBank products and services, benefiting its 15 (now 16) million customers and beyond. To achieve this, x15 occupies a space that is neither corporate nor startup. In fact, it's intentionally somewhere between the two – close enough for x15 and its ventures to benefit from CommBank's strategy, scale and stability but separate enough that it has the autonomy to try new things.
Although x15 had launched a number of ventures, its proposition – including its mandate to build, buy and invest – was often misunderstood, inconsistently articulated, and no longer an accurate reflection of what the business had become. In short, it had outgrown much of its early brand work.
To complicate matters further, x15 needed to appeal to various audiences. It needed a flexible yet recognisable brand system that would help distinguish x15 in the market, particularly with the talent it required to build the next generation of digital solutions, but also founders, its peers in the venture capital industry, and audiences inside CommBank.
In partnership with strategy studio Untangld, Universal Favourite developed a strategy centred around 'access advantage'. This concept focuses on the collision of corporate and venture worlds and the unique mix of benefits x15 can offer by occupying the space between both.
The idea is that with x15 beside you, whether you're part of a venture, a core team member or a founding team, you benefit from both the security and the freedom to innovate and ultimately shape the future.
From here came the creative concept 'made to scale', informed by the notion that x15 is here to help take ventures and individual careers to the next level and allow them the space they need to move, grow and thrive. In this way, x15 occupies a space where ideas and expertise collide to create big, impactful things to push boundaries.
While Universal Favourite got to work on bringing this to life visually, they worked with copywriter Cat Wall to give it a voice and ensured that x15's passion, quiet confidence and welcoming nature was felt in every message, as well as a suite of tone-of-voice guidelines for the internal team.
Evolution, not revolution
It was important to retain brand attribution by keeping the DNA of the original identity intact. With this in mind, Universal Favourite refined its existing logo and retained the hero brand colour while pushing some boundaries with the wider design system.
The primary palette remains the same, but it's used differently, letting the neutrals do the grunt work while the brand's signature pink is saved for impactful highlights. The studio also introduced Catalogue, a modern, simple, geometric typeface.
The idea that x15 helps people to expand their horizons, expand their potential and expand their opportunities is reflected with a simple and distinctive asset at the heart of the system — an expanding text box. This works across countless formats and can be both simple or expressive, dialled up or down to suit its context. It also played a crucial role in defining the motion principles that would direct how the brand moves, shifts and changes across different touchpoints.
Universal Favourite also created a system of patterns, shapes and wireframes inspired by early NASA prototypes of the X-15 rocket, which helped inspire x15's name.
These grids and symbols keep the brand working, a nod to the prototyping and testing conducted by a team in the process of creating a new venture. Again, these elements sing in motion, showcasing scale, collisions, collaboration and the dynamic working nature of the teams behind the brand. A distinctive image treatment, made with millions of Xs, speaks to the millions of customers that x15 serves.
With the brand built to be digital-first, motion was central to the identity. The expanding and scaling at the core of the creative idea easily translate into movement and brings the fast, ever-changing nature of the venture world to life.
This way, the brand's motion principles came together through experimentation and testing across a range of applications, utilising programming to create dynamic typography and patterns, making for a robust system that's easy for x15 to update.
Separate from the core x15 identity, Universal Favourite also needed the brand to flex to Xccelerate, x15's expedited investment program that helps early-stage founders understand the pathway to partnering with a corporate.
To achieve this, they rolled out the idea of supercharging your startup, leaning into the existing palette's neon green and introducing a suite of patterns inspired by the X-15 rocket's record-breaking speed. The outcome is a system that can both stand alone when it needs to and also sit in aesthetic partnership with x15.
Overall, this dynamic and constantly-moving rebrand gives x15 a simple yet endlessly flexible, expandable design system rooted in a powerful strategic foundation that anchors every aspect of the brand to their core beliefs.