I MILLE transform the Maire Group’s brand with mesmerising textures inspired by the aurora borealis
Maire is a multinational company operating in the field of engineering and chemical plant construction. With changing regulations, market transformations and shifting public perceptions of the climate emergency, they found that it was time for evolution; focusing on the technological dimension of the business in order to best serve the global transition to greener energy. Alongside this, global independent creative consultancy I MILLE worked with the Maire Group to craft a complete rebrand for the business and its series of websites; delivering a new brand architecture and narrative with a bold and impactful personality.
The studio focused on delivering a typographic visual direction, using the chosen typefaces as a way to express character. “For the logotype font we wanted an extended heavy typeface, to match the boldness of the symbol,” Design Director Andrea Corradi explains. “Pangram’s Agrandir Grand Heavy was our choice because of its personality – certainly far from neutral – and its imperfect shapes that celebrate humans, not machines.”
They took a similar approach when deciding on the brand’s leading typeface: PolySans, a fresh, mid-century-inspired sans serif designed by Milos Mitrovic and published through Gradient. “We wanted to ensure a solid, fresh and flexible backbone to the whole brand,” Corradi says, “but at the same time the subtle soft-edge ink trap and the unexpected italic shapes bring the eclecticism we wanted to give to the whole typographic system.”
When it came to Maire’s signature arcs logo, the client wanted an evolution that felt consistent with their ethos whilst also communicating the updated vision. That being the ‘energy transition’ and green technology adopted within the new business strategy. Looking to retain the arcs of the original logo, whilst expressing a bolder personality, I MILLE reimagined the logo (literally) from a new perspective in 3D. “We also gave a new interpretation to the three arcs,” Corradi tells us, “in the original structure they depicted a convergence, while now they are in sequence and they embody a continuous evolution.” In addition to this, he adds, the three arcs are associated with the “three main stakeholders: the people, the industry and the planet.”
Moving away from Maire’s previous generic blue colour, I MILLE discovered through their research that the pink and purple range was the least used in the industry. “The story behind the colour is quite interesting, because it overturns one situation that designers are used to facing,” Corradi tells us. “The client was pretty cold about the idea until the President himself – out of the blue (pun intended) – proposed a purple tone because of a painting he owns and loves, which is focused on the ‘Very Peri Pantone,’” he reveals. “So this time the scariest thing for a designer (let’s put a horse in that logo since the boss loves horses) came to help us! We just needed to tweak the colour, because the ‘Very Peri’ is a bit washed out to represent a bold brand, so we came up with a brighter and blueish version we called ‘Very Indigo.’”
One of the most fascinating aspects of the brand refresh is the introduction of textural, gradient background images – inspired by the aurora borealis. Commonly seen in the northern hemisphere, auroras are created by solar winds disturbing the Earth’s magnetosphere. “These textures allude to light, matter and energy: the fundamental feedstock of the processes Maire’s business is built upon,” Corradi tells us. “Aurora is generated by the ionisation and excitation of atmospheric constituents caused by the solar wind, resulting in light emissions of varying colour and complexity, mainly associated with oxygen and nitrogen. These elements – together with carbon and hydrogen – are the building blocks of organic chemistry and Maire’s industry.” In addition to this, the evolving, shifting forms of the auroras convey an idea of dynamism and transformation.
To create these textures, I MILLE experimented with generative AI. “But the best results so far have been achieved with coding, setting up a custom shader based on Fractal Brownian motion,” Corradi reveals. “We’re planning to release a tool enabling everyone to generate, tweak and export these kinds of images and we’re very excited about it.”
The project team at I MILLE included Andrea Corradi, Elena Aquila, Maria Vittoria Navati, Irene Martinelli, Riccardo Schito, Amelia Rose, Marco Giollo, Marco Aimo and Noemi Maggini.