Koto customise Colophon Foundry’s Mabry in their shparkly rebrand of online marketplace Shpock
As Monzo is to modern banking, as too is Shpock for online shopping – with their mobile-first business model and design, Shpock has been gaining traction since it launched in 2012, now selling securely across the UK. With the company looking to take advantage of their growing popularity in 2020, London-based design studio Koto has developed a new brand identity for the online marketplace, along with brand strategy and copywriting, in order to define Shpock’s public-facing voice. Part of this includes Shpock’s tagline ‘The Joy of Selling,’ a mantra Koto have taken under their wing throughout their visual exploration.
Fronting the identity is a Colophon Foundry’s Mabry typeface, although initially intending to design a bespoke typeface Koto explains to us that “we thought ‘what if we take a pre-loved typeface and add quirks to express that joy from the rest of the brand.’” Mabry was the ideal typeface, Koto tells us, due to its playful appearance alongside its renowned legibility. Working closely with Colophon Foundry, Koto set to utilise the full extent of the typeface, including developing some entirely new glyphs for the brand and altering numbers and currencies in pursuit of further legibility at small sizes. Koto notes that “we needed to consider how much playfulness we gave the typeface,” as the typeface “already has so much personality, that if you apply the joyful characters to every single letter, you will lose the functional part of it.”
Part of their custom glyph set was Shpock’s so-called ‘Shparkle,’ a visual motif that represents their ‘The Joy of Selling’ tagline, as well as providing an injection of some playfulness to the brand, setting it aside from its competitors. This is also translated photographically through their range of ecstatic images that highlight “buyers and sellers from the Shpock community with beautiful portraits that emphasise the joy of selling to someone, somewhere.” Paired with these portraits are the items they have bought or sold, creating interesting photographic compositions and in turn contributing to the brand’s playful tone of voice.
The greatest translator of their playful tone of voice is also the stand out element of Koto’s rebrand – the striking colour palette. With vibrant combinations of colours, from bold neons to soft pastels, Koto successfully utilised colours to express multitudes of emotions – telling us that through these combinations they “could create that joyful and optimistic world the whole brand was based on.”