Thrive: A Growth Opportunity

A custom-lettered logomark and flexible visual identity system for Money Management Institute's bold new initiative, Thrive.

VISUAL IDENTITY / BRAND DESIGN / LETTERING / FLEXIBLE VISUAL SYSTEM
Thrive Thumbnail

Thrive is a new initiative from Money Management Institute (MMI) focused on Emerging Asset Managers: smaller financial services firms with less than $25B AUM (assets under management).

MMI is a trade organization representing firms that provide financial advice and investment advisory solutions to investors. They brought me on in 2023 to develop their branding and communications for a wide slate of conferences, events, and initiatives.

Thrive sketch and final logo

The Opportunity

MMI offers membership at the firm-wide level, and its members run the gamut from small 2-3 person shops to some of the largest and most recognizable names in the industry.

Emerging asset managers, one of the most highly engaged groups at MMI, are a strategic pillar to the future success of the organization. No other industry organization (such as ICI, the Investment Company Institute) or larger asset manager (e.g. Blackrock, State Street, Invesco, or DWS) has been successful at capturing the attention of this group.

In collaboration with strategy consultant Robbie Cannon (of Horizon Investments) and several other colleagues across MMI's programming, marketing, and operations teams, I set out to create a new brand that would represent the energy and excitement of this industry-first initiative.

Thrive stationery mockupThrive briefcase mockupThrive mug mockup

The Core Brand Idea

Through a series of roundtable discussions, internal strategic explorations, and meetings with representatives from the target audience, we arrived at a core brand promise: Drive cultural engagement with large and small gatherings that emphasize the Emerging Asset Managers' commitment to each other and their place in the broader industry.

To further distill the brand promise, I proposed the following key words to inform the brand development process: Connection, Engagement, Energy, Growth, and Belonging.

Thrive strategic concepts

The Logo Development Process

In a series of meetings in November 2023, I presented logomark concepts based on the brand promise and key words. The excitement in these meetings was palpable, and I led a lively discussion on the importance of conceptually relevant branding to establish a unique look and feel for the initiative and help ensure its success in the marketplace.

I started with a set of custom hand-lettered options. Consensus quickly settled on the italic wordmark inspired by MMI's brand typeface (Gotham), but with added height, tight letterspacing, and additional forward energy. It was crucial to avoid using the familiar style of lockups from MMI's other sub-brands (designed by Big Idea Advertising), as they clashed conceptually with the brand strategy.

I also proposed several icon and color ideas as abstract representations of the core brand idea. The group landed on the cyan "starburst" but requested an alternate version of the typemark integrating a "northeast" facing arrow. The arrow version was eventually chosen for the final mark, and I expanded the idea by designing a supplemental arrow icon for use in placements where the full mark would not fit.

Thrive hand lettered logo progressionThrive wordmark connection conceptThrive simple logo applicationThrive all logo versionsThrive icon mockup on business cardThrive IconThrive wordmark energy conceptWordmark comparison about disconnectionWordmark comparison about lack of energyThrive lockup with starburst iconThrive lockup with arrow

The Flexible Visual System: Form

After the logo development process concluded, I got to work designing a flexible visual system to support the need for brand assets across a wide variety of applications and media.

The "northeast" direction is a shorthand in financial services for the growth you want to see in an investment or portfolio. With that concept as my guide, I developed the arrow icon into a flexible asset that could be adapted to any format, size, or medium, or could be used as a pattern or frame.

I abstracted the arrow even further to a 15° angle, which would be used for layouts, shapes, buttons, frames, and stylized type. This abstraction helped me create a strong, unique, and consistent visual identity that would represent the brand even in cases where the logo is not present.

Thrive visual system

The Flexible Visual System: Type and Color

The final piece of the flexible visual system was my typographic approach and color palette. Using MMI's brand typeface Gotham, I started by experimenting with point size, leading, and line width for the main body copy, landing on Gotham Book 8/10 on 8.5"x11" paper as the base unit and developing the rest of the hierarchy from there.

Next, I set a rule where all headings would use italic to represent the brand concept of energy and growth. As the final piece of the puzzle, I noted that italic text could be beautifully stylized by rotating 15° counter-clockwise.

For color, my choices were a bit more restricted. We had decided as a group to use one of MMI's parent brand colors, cyan, as the Thrive color. The light blue tone strikes an appropriate balance between stability and energy. To make the color system more flexible, I set the rule that cyan tints could be used at intervals of 10%, plus small amounts of black and white.

Thrive type hierarchyThrive color palette

Brand Applications

With the visual system ready, I got to work designing brand assets for web promotion, sponsorship, and the 2024 Emerging Asset Managers Forum, Thrive's first official event. I'm excited to see how the brand will continue to grow and develop from the strong foundations I've built.

Thrive FAQThrive desktop landing pageThrive Emerging Asset Managers Forum LinkedIn PostThrive featured image for MMI websiteThrive featured image for MMI website 2Thrive mobile landing pageThrive Nametag mockupThrive Emerging Asset Managers Forum welcome signThrive Web Square Icon behind Manhattan SkylineThrive Web Square Statue of DavidThrive banner image 2

Thrive: A Growth Opportunity

A custom-lettered logomark and flexible visual identity system for Money Management Institute's bold new initiative, Thrive.

VISUAL IDENTITY / BRAND DESIGN / LETTERING / FLEXIBLE VISUAL SYSTEM
Thrive Thumbnail

Thrive is a new initiative from Money Management Institute (MMI) focused on Emerging Asset Managers: smaller financial services firms with less than $25B AUM (assets under management).

MMI is a trade organization representing firms that provide financial advice and investment advisory solutions to investors. They brought me on in 2023 to develop their branding and communications for a wide slate of conferences, events, and initiatives.

Thrive sketch and final logo

The Opportunity

MMI offers membership at the firm-wide level, and its members run the gamut from small 2-3 person shops to some of the largest and most recognizable names in the industry.

Emerging asset managers, one of the most highly engaged groups at MMI, are a strategic pillar to the future success of the organization. No other industry organization (such as ICI, the Investment Company Institute) or larger asset manager (e.g. Blackrock, State Street, Invesco, or DWS) has been successful at capturing the attention of this group.

In collaboration with strategy consultant Robbie Cannon (of Horizon Investments) and several other colleagues across MMI's programming, marketing, and operations teams, I set out to create a new brand that would represent the energy and excitement of this industry-first initiative.

Thrive stationery mockupThrive mug mockupThrive briefcase mockup

The Core Brand Idea

Through a series of roundtable discussions, internal strategic explorations, and meetings with representatives from the target audience, we arrived at a core brand promise: Drive cultural engagement with large and small gatherings that emphasize the Emerging Asset Managers' commitment to each other and their place in the broader industry.

To further distill the brand promise, I proposed the following key words to inform the brand development process: Connection, Engagement, Energy, Growth, and Belonging.

Thrive strategic concepts

The Logo Development Process

In a series of meetings in November 2023, I presented logomark concepts based on the brand promise and key words. The excitement in these meetings was palpable, and I led a lively discussion on the importance of conceptually relevant branding to establish a unique look and feel for the initiative and help ensure its success in the marketplace.

I started with a set of custom hand-lettered options. Consensus quickly settled on the italic wordmark inspired by MMI's brand typeface (Gotham), but with added height, tight letterspacing, and additional forward energy. It was crucial to avoid using the familiar style of lockups from MMI's other sub-brands (designed by Big Idea Advertising), as they clashed conceptually with the brand strategy.

I also proposed several icon and color ideas as abstract representations of the core brand idea. The group landed on the cyan "starburst" but requested an alternate version of the typemark integrating a "northeast" facing arrow. The arrow version was eventually chosen for the final mark, and I expanded the idea by designing a supplemental arrow icon for use in placements where the full mark would not fit.

Thrive hand lettered logo progression mobileThrive wordmark connection conceptThrive wordmark energy conceptWordmark comparison about disconnectionWordmark comparison about lack of energyThrive lockup with starburst iconThrive lockup with arrowThrive all logo versionsThrive IconThrive icon mockup on business card

The Flexible Visual System: Form

After the logo development process concluded, I got to work designing a flexible visual system to support the need for brand assets across a wide variety of applications and media.

The "northeast" direction is a shorthand in financial services for the growth you want to see in an investment or portfolio. With that concept as my guide, I developed the arrow icon into a flexible asset that could be adapted to any format, size, or medium, or could be used as a pattern or frame.

I abstracted the arrow even further to a 15° angle, which would be used for layouts, shapes, buttons, frames, and stylized type. This abstraction helped me create a strong, unique, and consistent visual identity that would represent the brand even in cases where the logo is not present.

Thrive visual system

The Flexible Visual System: Type and Color

The final piece of the flexible visual system was my typographic approach and color palette. Using MMI's brand typeface Gotham, I started by experimenting with point size, leading, and line width for the main body copy, landing on Gotham Book 8/10 on 8.5"x11" paper as the base unit and developing the rest of the hierarchy from there.

Next, I set a rule where all headings would use italic to represent the brand concept of energy and growth. As the final piece of the puzzle, I noted that italic text could be beautifully stylized by rotating 15° counter-clockwise.

For color, my choices were a bit more restricted. We had decided as a group to use one of MMI's parent brand colors, cyan, as the Thrive color. The light blue tone strikes an appropriate balance between stability and energy. To make the color system more flexible, I set the rule that cyan tints could be used at intervals of 10%, plus small amounts of black and white.

Thrive type hierarchyThrive color palette

Brand Applications

With the visual system ready, I got to work designing brand assets for web promotion, sponsorship, and the 2024 Emerging Asset Managers Forum, Thrive's first official event. I'm excited to see how the brand will continue to grow and develop from the strong foundations I've built.

Thrive featured image for MMI websiteThrive featured image for MMI website 2Thrive Web Square Statue of DavidThrive Web Square Icon behind Manhattan SkylineThrive FAQThrive banner image 2Thrive desktop landing pageThrive mobile landing pageThrive Emerging Asset Managers Forum LinkedIn PostThrive Emerging Asset Managers Forum welcome signThrive Nametag mockup