As a technology training provider, Northcoders are invested in facilitating the career ambitions of those from all walks of life. Passionate and committed to driving diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, the company have pioneered forward-thinking initiatives, all closely aligned to their founding principles. But like many education providers, when the pandemic hit, Northcoders transitioned to online, and moved quickly to launch a remote version of their programmes.
Seeing this shift as an opportunity to inject a new lease of life into the brand, Northcoders approached Glorious with a brand refresh brief. The client was keen on retaining a core element of the existing identity – a caret shaped symbol used typically in programming languages – and so our team needed to consider how to evolve and develop a more dynamic and engaging brand identity, while creating a new narrative that would engage a diverse target audience.
We began by carrying out research into the market, understanding more about the company, the customer and the competition. It was clear from our findings that Northcoders had a well-established and extremely positive brand reputation within the market, both in terms of prospective students looking for an employer-focused training provider, and within the B2B space of recruitment partnerships.
Positioning and personas
We worked together with the client to craft the key attributes that formed the foundations of the brand. Each of these hinged on a passion for developing exceptional technology, as well as being at the heart of a thriving and diverse digital community.
From there, our team identified four distinct target audiences: Potential Student, Northcoder in Industry, Team Builder and Tech Leader. These helped to envision the type of creative style that would resonate holistically across the different consumers, working towards a cohesive and well-thought-out brand identity.
Since the brief from the client indicated that they wanted to be challenged in a new direction for the brand, our team began by looking at more revolutionary options which could then in turn, be refined down for the final outcome. One creative concept was built from stickers, looking at tangible ways a younger audience might engage with a tech brand. Whilst the client appreciated the thought process behind this concept, they were hesitant to go ahead with something so different from the existing brand.
Regrouping, we went back to the logo and symbol that Northcoders were set on keeping. What was missing was the narrative behind the icon and how it related to the brand, and so we set about formulating this story.
The idea was to redraw the caret symbol within a perfect square. This perfect square represented a pixel, and we were then able to show how the icon corelated to the brand and their products. A pixel grid structure could then be used as a consistent part of the creative style, across the website and other marketing channels, to tie everything together under one joined-up brand that had the original logo as its starting point.
The colour scheme too, was another aspect of the brand that Northcoders wanted to keep as part of the look and feel of the rebrand. So we kept the red, but made it more vibrant so that it popped within the new creative assets.
When considering the illustration and animation style, the client opted to take different elements of each of our creative propositions and hone these for an output which felt inventive and innovative, whilst also being friendly, warm and not completely diverged from the existing brand identity.
The end result was a brand identity that reflected a high-tech brand but one that is inclusive, supportive and constructive. By marrying together the typographic font with a Tone of Voice that was personable and indicative of the community orientated brand values, all the elements of the rebrand felt aligned to the brand proposition, as well as being targeted to the identified brand personas.
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