Play’s identity for Cantos epitomises the elegant and functional future-led mission of the VC firm
Cantos is a venture capital firm investing in leading tech that’s aiming to change the world. From construction robotics to plant-based biomanufacturing, the VC firm supports future-changing technologies in climate, techbio, aerospace, computing, and beyond. In need of a fitting identity, they looked to the talents of fellow San Franciscans and design studio Play to provide the new aesthetics.
The resulting visual language is reflective of the science-forward ethos of the company, starting with the logomark, a symbolic portal to the future. There’s one instance where the mark takes a slightly different form to the usual. As we point this out to Creative Director Casey Martin, he heartily responds, “Good eye!” before discussing the decision behind the variant logo. “In different communication channels,” he explains, “we expand or abstract the logo to make the Cantos universe feel larger.” As an example, Martin comments that their podcast hints at the idea of sound waves. “As the brand expands over time, we’ve built in the potential for logo variations,” he adds.
Continuing the distinctly tech-inspired graphic elements are the frosted screen-inspired layers, photographic art direction that showcases scientific innovation, and a mature colour palette of deep blues, greens, and purples. Presented as ambient gradients, the ethereal shades speak to a fluid future dynamically coming into focus.
The choice of type, PX Grotesk, provides a balancing element to the broader visual system. Martin describes the thinking behind the typeface, noting “Cantos’ mission is to imagine a more elegant and more functional future,” and the team agreed that PX felt like a perfect parallel. “It lends a utilitarian and rigid foundation which grounds our graphic system, allowing for more expressive elements elsewhere,” he concludes.