Responses by Ensemble.
Background: Executive Nexus is a platform that connects the world’s best executives with private equity opportunities. As a nice proposition, the platform only really matters for C-level executives and above. Keen to never be seen as “white glove,” Executive Nexus merely describes itself as irrelevant for the vast majority of people, making it a network for the 0.025 percent. We were tasked with creating a visual and tonal identity to better reflect Executive Nexus’s ambition and create a connection with its users—those rich in wealth but poor in free time.
Design thinking: We rooted our concept in the agents of change, creating pivotal moments for individuals and businesses through curated connections. Our understanding of the audience as being time-poor yet brand-savvy led to a “premium-functional” design aesthetic. Minimal use of color and clean typography drive home confident messaging, punctuated with abstracted CGI images using the deconstructed logomark and referencing the core pillars of the platform.
Challenges: The requirement to feel premium yet also functional and platform-led. We talked a lot about a concierge approach and the vernacular of premium fashion—monochromatic palettes and white space—but we always felt that it left early explorations cold and overly masculine. The real breakthrough came from a conversation with the client when they explained: “We are dealing with the very top-level business leaders, but we do not want to be velvet rope. We deal with a tiny percentage of businesses but only because the platform simply isn’t of interest to most.”
Visual influences: We always knew the logomark needed to be minimalistic to try and break through the cliches of the executive business world, like nodes, connections, networks and globes. So, we pulled from modernist design to create a reduced symbol that would have the flex to push and pull in different ways while still retaining legibility at even the smallest sizes.
Time constraints: We have a good and relatively informal relationship with the client. Communication was critical, so if there were delays in any of the composite elements, the client always received our explanations with understanding. In short, we can’t complain: time was not a factor in the quality of our output. The work is actually still ongoing; we’re currently working on a video piece, plus other assets, but we decided to do things right instead of fast. The platform and proposition are evolving, so making sure the foundations were solid before we built more upon them was the main thing.
Specific project demands: The CGI imagery was slightly challenging to get over the line. We had presented our ideas as part of the initial concept, but the client was unsure about their cost without being able to see the final artwork. This meant developing these was much more iterative than we would usually suggest, and there were many more voices involved over the tiniest detail. CGI artist Jack Seymour, someone we know quite well, was understanding throughout the process and managed to get final images that all parties were happy with. While this proved to be a bit more challenging, we couldn’t let these drop as we didn’t want the brand to fall into the world of ubiquitous business imagery: people sitting around a board room pointing at a laptop.