Making a clean energy investment company more current
After a decade of success, Hazel Capital wanted to broaden the scope of their investment and development operations to take the company into the next phase of growth. Our solution was a fresh new identity and responsive website that communicates a positive and hopeful narrative while avoiding the tech-heavy clichés prevalent in the technology industry and sometimes clinical feel of financial services. At launch, the new look and website elicited immediately positive reactions from all audiences.
Old visual identity and website
Hazel Capital is a UK investment manager and developer that has been successfully investing in clean energy technologies, with a particular focus on solar energy farms for a decade. Senior management felt that a new and refreshed brand would support the company’s planned growth phase and directional shift towards the emerging technologies of battery storage and electric vehicle infrastructure.
Hazel Capital is so named because coppicing is an ancient woodcraft that allows hazel trees to deliver a sustainable source of branches that can be used for activities such as fencing or thatching. Like many start-ups, their previous identity had been self-created and included a detailed illustration of the process of hazel coppicing as the logo.
While indicative of their charming back-story, this logo did not work well in digital media. The quaintly bucolic visual style was at odds with how the organisation had developed and should be perceived.
The ideas behind the core tenets of the Hazel Capital brand are expressed in a new strapline they developed, “Sustainable returns. Infinite resources.”
Our task was to amplify this brand narrative with a contemporary and appropriately corporate visual identity and express it across a range of collateral – with particular focus on a new website.
Initial logo concepts
Our process: Igniting the creative spark
A logo is the cornerstone of a visual identity system and the ultimate distillation of a brand’s promise and personality – so that is where we focus our initial attention. The scope of work is singularly narrow, allowing our range of influences and avenues of exploration to be varied and broad. We created a raft of initial concepts drawing inspiration from sources as disparate as energy iconography and the products and processes of hazel coppicing.
This was narrowed to three routes deemed worthy of further exploration and development. For each we created a visual vocabulary of type, colour and imagery and articulated each concept across a variety of indicative applications.
Feedback from a second presentation then allowed us to refine our solution to a single coherent concept.
For the website, we started with a simple organogram to identify the basic structure of the site. To expedite the development process we utilised an existing WordPress Theme to provide the core responsive framework – this allowed us to ‘live build’ the site on our development server. Each page effectively started as a ‘working wireframe’ and, through a process of feedback and iteration, was eventually refined into the finished article.
Our solution: Electric vegetation and ‘solar flair’
Two things inspired the final logo, the geometry of a hazel leaf and printed circuit boards – technology and sustainability in unison. The symbol is combined in monolinear harmony with a contemporary sans serif wordmark to create an elegantly simple logo.
The juxtaposition of apparent opposites informs multiple design decisions: traditional and modern contrast with the typefaces Noto Serif and Monserrat; nature and technology complement each other in the colour palette; monochrome team profile images coexist with ‘headline images’ that have been curated into a coherent suite though warm toned colouration and the addition of a ‘solar flare’ to reference the ‘Infinite resources’ of the strapline.
A clean, uncluttered and unpretentious aesthetic unites all items of collateral while the headline imagery bypasses technology-focussed cliché to integrate the results of Hazel Capital’s investment activity into an optimistic vision of contemporary society.
Within minutes of the new site and visual identity being launched Hazel Capital was receiving complementary feedback from investors, analysts, industry commentators and technology partners.
Analytics are in place to measure site traffic and usage and we will report results as they become available.
“It has been a pleasure working with the Incorporate Team. From the outset they showed a complete appreciation of our goal to revitalise the Hazel Capital brand whilst not overlooking the Company’s origins. The concepts they presented were sensitive, informed and innovative, their approach throughout entirely professional with exceptional attention to minute detail, and they have been available throughout to quickly address queries or changes and to ensure a smooth process.”
Lizzie Darbourne – Marketing Director