How&How shares three new branding projects, from an ad agency to a fintech via seaweed forests
At only two-and-a-half years old, the digital design studio based in Lisbon and London has already turned out a wealth of great branding projects and campaigns, recently turning its skills towards the “earthtech” sphere.
- Jenny Brewer
- 15 June 2021
How&How is a digital branding studio based in Lisbon and London, co-founded by husband and wife duo Cat How and Rog How just two and a half years ago and already boasting an impressive and distinctive portfolio. With its 11 full-time staff and “colourful gaggle” of part-timers and freelancers, turning their hand to all kinds of branding work and “making the Slack channel giphy-packed and emoji-heavy,” the studio is growing fast, finding itself most commonly working with tech brands and lately, because of its self-initiated drive towards sustainability projects, “earthtech”.
“As our core team is based in Lisbon by the sea, we started working on self-initiated studio campaigns against ocean plastic,” explains Cat, who oversees creative direction for the studio. These projects are referred to by the studio as part of its BeHalf series, environmentally minded projects “created on behalf of the planet” that include Eat Less Plastic – highlighting the alarming amount of plastic particles we ingest – and Deadly Dust – a campaign about the microplastics emitted by car tyres. As a result of this work, the studio has found itself working with more clients in the “earthtech” space, companies using technology in climate change efforts.
The latest is Forgotten Forests, a campaign for SeaForester to raise awareness of deforestation at the bottom of the ocean. While most of us think of deforestation being a land-based issue, the destruction of marine vegetation is just as widespread and impactful on our environment, and its restoration could be a crucial factor in mitigating climate change. So, How&How’s campaign urged people to “think differently about their ‘blue front yard’” and its potential, by “seeing the sea like land”. The studio developed ethereal photographs of kelp, and then traced coastal map lines around them “suggestive of the frilly textures of kelp fronds, but also of maps and topography” to make images that painted land and sea as “interchangeable”. The kelp imagery is shown in “positive” jewel tones of lavender, turquoise and coral pink, drifting dreamily in animations around text emphasising important campaign messages. The studio chose the elegant Wulkman Display for the display font for its “sharp, exaggerated elements… thin hairlines and ball terminals – suggestive of the blades, cord and floats of kelp”.
Forgotten Forests is just one of a flurry of new projects recently put out by How&How, the others in very different spheres but nonetheless showing its knack for branding that’s subtly infused with personality. Its rebrand for One Green Bean exemplifies this, managing to demonstrate the ad agency’s “quirky yet polished” identity while making a system that didn’t overshadow its client’s work. Central to the brand is a graphic device referred to by Cat as “springs” – little line-drawn coils, zig-zags and squiggles that appear across its visual identity to add vim, and tie various projects together. “The spring came from the idea of a bouncing bean which leaps and jumps,” Cat tells It’s Nice That, “but also from one of OGB’s core values: always being two steps ahead. We loved the idea of the dynamism in this spring which was always pushing the company forwards and fizzing with energy.” The studio used a pared-back colour palette of “chirpy” mint and “calm” forest green to make sure it didn’t compete with the brand colours of the agency’s clientele, and Roba High Bold as the key typeface for its thick and thin traces, referencing the agency’s “juxtaposition between grown-up and playful”.
Another recent project sees the studio back in the tech world, this time for fintech start-up Trackinsight. How&How’s brand identity for the ETF (exchange-traded fund) analysis platform looked to portray the peace and calm that investors are looking for while making decisions. Hence the visual concept is based around an oasis, in which investors can “focus and cut through the noise”. This comes to life through abstract, grainy, “noisy” animated patterns, overlaid with bold typography and 3D graphics of lenses, inspired by spectacles, symbolising the focus the platform offers. These lenses feature in the Trackinsight logotype, as the dots on the ‘i’s, which uses Founders Grotesk as the display typeface – chosen for its “strong editorial vibe” influenced by the brand’s links to the Financial Times.
As for the colour choice, we ask Cat what influenced its unlikely scheme. “Would you believe me if I said vintage Versace? I swear it’s true,” she laughs. “The colourful CEO Jean-Rene loves 1980s Versace and wanted something bold and original in the palette. We did a lot of trawling of pretty out-there print designs from back then to try to get to something that he liked.” More pragmatically, it was also designed to work well on light and dark modes, and the lavender and pea-green were “two colours which are also associated with calmness”. While others might err towards sunset oranges and yellows for an oasis feel, the Hows went for something more unexpected – which pretty much sums them up.
How&How: One Green Bean identity (Copyright © One Green Bean, 2021)