Meet Twelve: a Gather Round collaboration to create a catalyst for change
Community. Creativity. Respect. These are the values we set out to achieve over one year ago, when we opened the doors of Gather Round to Bristol’s creative talent. Despite the unforeseen challenges of a global pandemic, our community has flourished here within the walls of the old Cigar Factory off Bristol’s North Street, spawning the space’s first major collaboration.
Jessica Ferrow is a sustainability strategy and communications consultant with the fierce ambition required, in her words, to bring ‘activism into the boardroom.’ One half of a progressive duo, together, Jessica and her London-based business partner Ellie Austin offer businesses a collective 20+ years experience in weaving sustainability into the very fabric of their organisation and develop responses to the climate emergency. They commissioned fellow members to build the brand and website: bringing Fiasco Design, digital design studio Pixelfish, and photographer Nic Kane together to work on a project to catalyse change, and launch their new sustainability consultancy: Twelve.
Challenging businesses to tackle the enormity of our global plight takes determination and optimism, something which Jessica and Ellie have in plentiful supply: “if it’s not bold and big, we don’t want to work on it,” says Jessica. “Our name, Twelve, was provided by the landmark report published in 2018 by the IPCC (that’s the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) stating that we have just 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe. Urgent and unprecedented changes are needed by 2030 to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees and avoid the worst effects of climate change.”
Naturally, the brand identity and client-facing website needed to communicate this urgency but simultaneously capture Jessica and Ellie’s advocacy and authority. “When it came to branding we wanted to escape the greens, the blues, and wistful clichés so synonymous with sustainability; the pictures of hands with green seedlings sprouting from them – it needed to be less lifestyle and more leadership,” explains Jessica. “At the same time, we wanted to capture our expertise and ambition without coming across as mega activists – it was essential we remain approachable.”
The Branding – Creating a change-making identity
Whilst a scary yet important reality to highlight, Fiasco Design’s Co-Founder Jason Smith acknowledges “Twelve wanted the visual identity to have an optimistic outlook on climate change – to create that positive change by inspiring and educating the companies they work with.” An award-winning creative agency, Fiasco Design is well-rehearsed in bringing brand identities which capture the unique purpose, personality and principles of their clients to life.
Given how crucial and relevant Twelve’s services are, the concept behind the name offered a great starting point for Fiasco visually. “We wanted to explore how we could bring a sense of urgency and temporariness to the identity – time is never stationary and we wanted to reflect this in the logo somehow,” explains Julia Darze, the designer on the project . “The resulting concept revolved around the ‘timebars’, which represent the countdown of the years left to make lasting environmental change. Each year, a timebar in the logo turns orange, a colour we chose to represent urgency, until ultimately all the bars change colour. This was applied both in static applications in the form of 12 logo variants, as well as an animated logo. The timebar graphics also play a key part in the overall visual identity, being applied as textures they introduce colour throughout as well as being a container for impactful photography.”
When it came to fonts and colours, the identity needed to feel approachable. “The palette reflected this using warmer earthier tones inspired by the natural world, and we paired this with a more rounded typeface – Buenos Aires – to frame the messaging in an encouraging way,” explains Julia. ”The identity is a full circle encompassment of their values, story, purpose and personality.”
The Website – Bringing the consultancy online
Skilled in developing slick websites for their clients, Pixelfish is a brand and website design studio with decade’s experience in bringing businesses online. “From a design perspective, we wanted to bring to life the time bar concepts and overlaying of elements on the page,” explains Dan Hinton, Creative Director at Pixelfish. “If we take the homepage as an example, on scroll we have three overlapping bars which tumble down over each other, as well as sitting over the opening video. Not only does this look neat, but they act as a visual tool to steer the viewer to the next important blocks of content.”
While from a development perspective, the website is a fairly straightforward WordPress build, but it needed to perform in accordance with the values it was communicating. “From the start, it was essential this site had to be hosted on web servers using 100% renewable energy, and we built a fast and lightweight website which means it’s low impact,” explains Dan. “But we were keen to maximise the speed and performance, something we’ve nailed.”
The Result – The world is changing
In a time where we’ve had to adapt to a new reality overnight, there is arguably no time more pressing to reconsider the role businesses can play in rebuilding a better world. Launched in June 2020, we’re excited to witness just how Twelve will tackle the challenges posed by our changing climate in the next decade. “Fiasco’s interpretation of the brief to create the timebars was genius, and the brand is already resonating with our client base, both past and present,” says Jessica “ And Pixelfish have really brought the concept to life with a dynamic platform for us to start the conversation from – the little touches of movement make the whole web experience intuitive and engaging.”
“When I joined Gather Round, I saw the potential for this coming together of complementary skills and community,” she continues. “It offered the opportunity to get to know people professionally, which made the whole project seamless from start to finish. Plus, it feels great to have invested in each other and we’ve really deepened the sense of community here.”
Want to join our creative community? Get in touch with Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the membership options available.