Koto keep things bright and dynamic with their electric brand refresh for eCommerce service Bolt
When we think of clever use of negative space, FedEx’s arrow often comes to mind. We’d say Koto have stolen the title with their brilliant wordmark and overall identity for Bolt. The one-click checkout platform approached Koto to help develop and execute a refresh on all branded elements. As the two companies collaborated, their joint vision was to signal the brand’s newest chapter, as it ushers in an emphasis on its core products and services for its robust network of partners. The identity is built around the image and connotations of lightning, drawing from the brand’s original lightning bolt badge. With said lightning bolt front and centre, the wordmark and logo communicate the trust, speed and convenience customers and partners have come to associate with Bolt.
When developing Bolt’s typographic direction, Koto opted to work with Pangram Pangram Foundry “to make something meaningful and useful” in the form of a bespoke typeface, Creative Director Arthur Foliard explains. “Sometimes, bespoke typefaces look good, but they become a distraction. And we wanted to make sure that Bolt would use them in the product (as well as marketing),” he tells us. From there, the team came up with 15 characters users would see the most: $, %, @, “, ! and so on. These would feature Bolt’s synonymous lightning symbol. “It was also an exercise of simplification,” Foliard adds, “some characters couldn’t and shouldn’t have the lightning in them. As long as they felt energetic and dynamic it worked.”
Maintaining this energetic direction, the studio ensured the brand’s choice of colour would be equally invigorating. To achieve this, it was time to reject the norm. “When we look at Bolt’s competitors,” Foliard recalls, describing Koto’s decision, “it’s pretty obvious why they needed to move away from the blue. Everyone is using it!” The studio acknowledged the power of colour and the industry’s desire for ‘secure’ association. However, blue doesn’t necessarily need to be used. “It’s actually a behaviour trait vs a visual trait in my opinion,” he adds. “In a sea of sameness, there clearly were two opportunities to explore – orange/red and yellow/lime. We tried both, looked at how it works with the rest of our brand, because at the end of the day, you’re making a much bigger system around it, so you can’t forget the rest of the brand.” Aligning with the brand’s core idea of ‘lightning speed,’ the colour ‘lightning yellow’ was unsurprisingly a team favourite.