Made Thought and FutureCorp’s evolution of AUFI’s identity flaunts restraint and charisma
At the compelling convergence of creativity and business, ASK US FOR IDEAS (AUFI) are an incredibly interesting company; bridging the gap between clients and design companies, finding the right fit for the right people, and partnering with some of the most talented folks in the creative industry. The London-based company saw the opportunity to strengthen their online and editorial presence, as well as solidify their vision for the future. Not only did this include the launch of a new website, but also saw the launch of AUFI Ventures; a new business arm of AUFI that seeks to invest in emerging companies.
Deciding to evolve the company and its brand, rather than simply change or revolutionise it, AUFI co-founder Nick Bell explains that the beginning of that story is akin to AUFI’s ethos; one of collaboration. “Mike [White] who runs Lowrie had pointed me towards a really interesting talk by Eric Hu,” Bell recalls, “where he unpacks the rebrand SSENSE went through (deffo worth a watch by the way),” finding themselves struck by Eric Hu’s analysis of respecting the brand’s DNA and not trying to defy convention at every turn. “We’re in the business of creativity, and so it’s important that we reflect that in an ever-evolving visual world,” Bell adds, “but at the same time we’re keen not to change things for change’s sake.”
Bringing on London-based design agency Made Thought to achieve as such, the team sought to elevate their identity and online platform to something that references the work and ethos of their roots, providing the building blocks of their re-evaluation, whilst conveying an established confidence and authentic trust. With their connection with others being central to what they do, however, it was difficult to choose who to work with! “We’ve been lucky to work with some amazing teams over the years,” AUFI’s fellow co-founder Toby Wilkinson recalls, from Bibliotheque’s original identity, Bureau for Visual Affairs’ website design, Accept & Proceed’s work on their ‘Where We Stand’ and Studio Lowrie’s work on ‘Wrapping Up.’
“Given the relationships we have with agencies around the world, we try to mix up the talent we’re using,” Wilkinson adds, “in this instance, Made Thought approached us with some super interesting insight into how they felt we could evolve our offering,” something aligned very closely to what they personally envisioned. “Once we’d landed on the evolved brand and digital concept,” Wilkinson tells us, “FutureCorp were the perfect natural partner to compliment MT’s vision,” bringing on the London-based digital agency to immaculately execute the digital vision the Made Thought team had. “It’s been amazing refining the UX with them,” Wilkinson adds.
Approaching the project with their eyes firmly facing forward, Made Thought looked to evolve the identity to reflect the two sides of AUFI’s personality; that of business and that of charisma. This was effortlessly accomplished through their intelligent typographic decision making, with Helvetica conveying the stark confidence AUFI exudes and Suisse Works injecting a warm, human touch to the digital space. “The combination of both allowed us to play with two distinct personality traits of the brand,” Made Thought Design Director Liam Weyell explains, “having these two distinct character states enabled us to switch seamlessly between allowing the work to act with total confidence whilst also having a much more personal voice-over to back it up.”
An equally brazen aspect of AUFI’s digital presence is their use of bright, engaging fluorescent colours, littered across the splash pages of the website; in doing so maintaining the energetic momentum the editorial layout and typographic composition. “The opening colours are derived from the eclectic nature of this output,” Weyell explains, “whilst the injection of fluorescent accents across the rest of the site aims to capture a future-focused tone that defines the brand’s progressive outlook.” The result of Made Thought’s deliberation and application is a brand evolution that is as slick as it is salient; an elegantly designed platform that knows how and when to shout, and equally when to remain supportive. The collaboration between AUFI’s network, from FutureCorp’s technological expertise to Lowrie’s guidance and Made Thought’s painless application, is a showcase of utter brand comprehension and expertise, side-by-side with masterful aesthetic restraint and understanding.