“Illuminate your mind.” How newkid created the brand for Sol, the first immersive digital reader
Despite the many technical and digital innovations that are constantly brought into the world, the state of reading has largely stayed the same. Amazon’s Kindle and audiobooks have become popular options, but the trusted printed book continues to dominate. The printing press solved the issue of scale. And the Kindle was created to improve the experience of digital reading. Sol, a reading technology company, is providing the next innovation through its digital reader device. Aptly named the Sol Reader, the device has been designed to help people focus deeply on reading again in our distracted world.
When it came to its brand, the challenge posed to newkid was to build a visual world that presents Sol as more than just a new gadget. By positioning the Sol Reader as one in a long line of reading innovations tackling today’s attention crisis, the Toronto-based creative practice have devised a brand that evokes the most impactful aspect of reading: the way it ‘illuminates’ our minds. This idea of illumination – both tonally and visually – is the central driving force behind the Sol brand.
Developed in collaboration with Cory Schmitz and the Sol team, the Sol logo evokes the history of the written word and comes with a dynamic on-off state, to be used digitally and in-reader. It’s accompanied by a matching wordmark, created from a customised version of Fattype’s Beausite Classic – the brand’s primary typeface. “At its heart, Sol is a reading brand, and legibility of all communications was paramount to building a strong foundation for the brand,” newkid’s Co-founder Rich Brown tells us, recalling the typographic direction. “Beausite Classic’s combination of highly legible, contemporary design and a wide range of stylistic sets create an incredibly robust (and beautiful) direction for Sol’s hero typography. The ‘L’ in Sol was modified to match the radius of the curved edges in the Sol logo, creating a sense of continuity and balance.”
The photography and video assets, brought to life with Norman Wong and Colossale, reinforce the evocative power of reading through the interplay of light and shadow. Using a similar approach, the product imagery crafted by Paris-based Services Generaux references the unique lighting profile of a solar eclipse.
As the Sol brand places priority on ‘focus,’ it was fitting that the website (by MARCD) was designed around the details – mixing user interaction with the familiarity of print typesetting. As such, newkid have decided to count the classically editorial Times Now by Jan-Henrik Arnold as Sol’s secondary typeface. “From the get-go, it was key to encompass the world of books, by pairing beautiful serif and sans serif typography,” Brown notes. “Whilst Times Now isn’t prominent in the initial brand launch, it will play a strong role moving forward as the serif counter-weight to Beausite, on-web, in-device and beyond.”