Challenge

Although Copper had a portfolio of successful product designs and award winning collaborations, in addition to the founders’ credible profiles in the design industry, the company was being restricted by a brand identity that was not clearly articulated.

With a lack of brand and value proposition differentiation in the market, Copper needed to find a way to clearly articulate their Australian difference in a global and increasingly homogenised design market.

Response - Brand identity

To understand the identity of Copper as a creative partnership, Ellis Jones applied a tailored brand identity development process, connecting the vision and ambition of the company, the market needs and desires, and the organisation’s key competencies.

We conducted a branding workshop, which identified the key design characteristics that inform Copper’s creative output, imagined what a number of customer journeys with Copper would be and documented the characteristics of the company, if it were a person.

Copper was identified as being ‘astutely aware’. Through each interaction and transaction the customer demonstrates that they are aware of what good design is (and isn’t), and the journey taken to create it. Buying a Copper product is a statement.

In defining who Copper was as a brand, their tone of voice and core conceptual identity, we began to develop the accompanying visual identity system.

Response - Visual identity

Informed by the strategic positioning work of the brand identity, particularly as it relates to opportunity for development of narrative and tone of voice, a visual identity was developed for Copper.

Taking input from original stimuli such as makers’ marks, regional authenticity, typography and photographic direction, we developed a cohesive, narrative system which to visually communicate the Copper difference.

Makers’ mark

Copper is formed in the heart of the biggest stars in the Universe; the process of its creation requires the most extreme amounts of energy and heat. When viewed through this lens, it seemed a straightforward choice to depict a star in Copper’s makers’ mark; a molten, luminous ball of creative energy and output. The form is deliberately simple, informed by early human pictographs, and craftsmen’s marks of later periods.

Logotype

We selected a contemporary sans serif typeface for the Copper logotype. Its straightforward geometry makes the composition feel balanced and measured. Its visual weight ensures that it has an impactful presence in application.

Supporting typography

Building on the visual language of the makers’ mark and logotype, we employed a supporting serif typeface to contrast the geometric forms, and extending the ‘crafted’ tone of voice.

Colour

Our colour decision was no surprise; we decided to lead with copper, which in print applications will be metallic ink wherever possible. Underneath the copper there are several warm neutrals, ranging from light to dark, to measure the impact of the stark metallic.

The primary contrast to the metallic copper is verdigris. By using the colour of oxidised, patinated copper, we have a striking and differentiating visual tension between the two, and we keep the whole palette within the conceptual frame.

Photography

We proposed to seek something divergent; an aesthetic ‘treatment’ that would reconcile different types of top-level brand photography into one brand look and feel. The top-level suite of ‘hero’ images prepared with this treatment, sitting above more conventional product images.

For this process, we referenced the solarisation technique used notably by surrealist Man Ray, whereby sections of an image are inverted, causing the surface of the image to resemble molten metal. By combining this treatment with a monotone copper screen, we had something truly unique and ownable.

Outcome

After establishing a visual identity for Copper, we applied the elements to a first raft of livery and promotional material for Salone di Mobile 2017, as well as the Copper website.

To transfer the visual identity narrative into the most customer central point was essential. Colours, typography, photography and the makers’ mark were utilised in the development of a new Copper website.

The homepage draws together work from across the spectrum of Copper’s output into one space for users to survey. Rollovers turn images from full colour to solarised copper. As users scroll, the menu changes to its minimised, sticky form. The makers’ mark is reintroduced as shorthand for the brand. Here finally, is a crafted digital showcase, fitting for the treasures with which it will be filled.

Copper’s work is rich in materials and stories, it has moments of breathtaking beauty, and we wanted to put that at the heart of all customer-facing elements.

A twelve-month process of understanding Copper’s unique place in the global design ecosystem has led to a carefully reconstructed narrative, articulated through contemporary Australian design aesthetic.

We continue to work through an approach to the architect and specifier market with Copper, and will be launching a suite of promotional material for new products in the coming months.