Hato sharpens Capture One brand with typeface based on lenses

New motion design by Connor Campbell Studio mirrors the actions of focusing, zooming and bulk image imports – a photographer’s everyday.

28 May 2024

Hato has rebranded the photography brand Capture One, taking it from a tech-focused software company to a community platform, with a new vision of “connecting people through photography”. To do it, Hato has shifted the focus from the final output (that perfectly composed shot) to the practice of taking a photograph itself. Collaborators include Connor Campbell Studio on motion and Calvin Kwok, who designed a font around the numerical typography typically found on lenses.

Specifically, the typeface – a condensed grotesque font with flat terminals – was inspired by an archive of lenses Hato found that were produced by Capture One’s parent company, Phase One. “To convert the letters, we used a lot of tracing paper, printing techniques, photography and scanning,” says Ken Kirton, Hato partner and CD. Some of the letters were traced, while others were mono-printed. “It didn’t need to be an exact science, just a playful process to explore the letter forms and in turn refine the chosen ones into a full character set.”

“The number 8 and the Q are among my favourites,” says Ken. “They both have a warm but confidently awkward tone to them. The ratio of the two counters on the 8 is really playful, with its larger bottom belly.” Numbers and letters on lenses are typically engraved with a pantograph (which has the capacity of reducing large shapes into tiny proportional forms), and Hato has kept this effect by using monolinear stroke widths and rounded inner corners. How the typeface is used is also important. Hato replicates one of the most defining features of lens typography – its small size – by steering away from bold presentations.


Hato: Capture One, motion with Connor Campbell Studio, font design with Calvin Kwok (Copyright © Hato / Capture One, 2024)

Other than the obvious photographic influence, Ken says this typeface represents another part of Capture One’s identity. “They told us that Capture One started because they had to document a large Rembrandt and stitch it together in files, but no software existed to accomplish this task. So, their team dedicated their evenings and weekends to creating their own.” Ken thought there was something in this – “the pursuit of the craft and the drive to constantly innovate” – and that lenses would be the perfect way to encapsulate it.

Motion does more than stitch together assets and typography. By developing motion behaviours around actions like zooming and split-screen grading, the team actually downplays polished photography within assets, and the brand appears to be in mid-process. This sits in line with Hato’s aim to position Capture One as an active platform that sits within a photographer’s everyday practice.

The logo works to the same goal, using a C and O to replicate a twisting lens. It means photography practice is reflected in the identity at its most fundamental level. The overall style sits in line with past projects from Hato like MM:NT, a highly functional hotel identity.

GalleryHato: Capture One, motion with Connor Campbell Studio, font design with Calvin Kwok (Copyright © Hato / Capture One, 2024)

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Hato: Capture One, motion with Connor Campbell Studio, font design with Calvin Kwok (Copyright © Hato / Capture One, 2024)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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