Investor’s Group

Redgees Legacy Award Honourable Mention

In-House – Prairies/Nunavut

Investors Group Logo Refresh, ampoule 2006

For more than 85 years, sick Investors Group has helped Canadians build long-term financial security. As we continued evolving to meet the changing needs of our clients, nurse it was decided that our logo –whose typography was somewhat clunky and not very legible when used in smaller sizes – needed to evolve as well. (In addition, Pantone 300, our former brand colour, presented its own challenges in that it was difficult to match in both CMYK and RGBI and it was also one of our competitors’, BMO, colours.)

The decision to refresh and not to redesign the logo was twofold:
• We wanted to strengthen brand recognition by continuing to be recognizable to clients and prospects.
• We didn’t want to force our 100-plus region offices to update their signage and forms immediately, but rather on a cost-effective basis of over a period of months or years.

The direction we received was to keep the stylized “IG” letterforms within the rhombus, but modernize the other elements. With a refresh, you can, at times, get caught up in how it used to look and not focus on innovation. We worked through this by coming up with several iterations of the logo to come up with the right solution: rounding the edges of the rhombus and updating the typeface. Eidetic Neo – a relatively new font at the time – was chosen and customized to create an italicized version of the letterforms to match the angle of the rhombus. The corners of the rhombus were rounded to match the corners of the “G”, which served to unify the two elements.

Another challenge was selecting a new Pantone colour that would work well in both four-colour printing and on-screen – blue can sometimes be a challenge in the way it translates, and many colours were reviewed in the process. Pantone 541 was ultimately chosen as a cross-functional shade of blue.

There are several levels of approvals necessary when working for a larger corporation. The logo refresh included over 100 unique design files, some with multiple options for presentation. The logo refresh was ultimately approved by our President and CEO, who takes an interest in many of our high-level design projects.

Being a relatively new team at the time, this project was viewed as an important step towards solidifying our place in the Marketing Department at Investors Group.

Consultant Recruiting Sub-Brand, 2009

Investors Group’s Consultant recruitment program is of the utmost importance to our company. Its goal is to attract a high number of viable candidates each year to ensure continued success for our business. This sub-brand was created to work in tandem with our client-facing collateral, but it was important for it to be unique enough to stand on its own. The Investors Group Advantage wordmark is used on all pieces. It is always used in conjunction with the bar and box combination, to create a consistent approach to all materials, and is instantly recognizable. The overlayed transparent boxes are used in the photo backgrounds, to represent the depth and layers of support available to our new recruits.

The Investors Group Advantage sub-brand has been used for a number of years, and still looks fresh. Part of this can be attributed to the style of photography that is used. The signature “box overlays” and shallow depth of field unify the light, airy business images. The logo and colours used work well with our Investors Group brand, and are still current in today’s design landscape. The colour palette is friendly, approachable, clean and professional. By putting the wordmark on everything, we are strengthening the sub-brand, and consistency in any collateral helps to strengthen the overall brand of the company.

The recruiting program content went through a major overhaul earlier this year. This was an extremely collaborative process, oftentimes the designer requesting specific copy to work in the layout.

During the overhaul of the recruiting program, photos provided by the client were of low quality. We solved this by decreasing the size of the portraits, to put less emphasis on the photography, and more emphasis on the article itself as well as the pull quotes consistently featured at the top of each page. This made for a more balanced layout as well, and the new profiles still work together well with the original profiles. In addition to speaking to the many layers of support at Investors Group, the boxes of varying transparencies also serve to link all of the pieces together by incorporating them into the background of all imagery. By including the boxes in photos of our own people, as well as in stock photography, we are able to unify all of the images on the many pieces of Recruiting collateral. Another challenge was the sheer volume of work involved in this overhaul – there were approximately 1,000 pieces – using varying styles of content and tone. The fact that we were able to unify all of these pieces speaks volumes of our foresight.

Previous re-brands within the company had been outsourced to external agencies. In keeping this rebranding project in-house, we proved our credibility, our design acumen and the fact that we have the ability to handle such a large volume of work. Since the re-brand in 2009, Investors Group has recruited over 7,000 Consultants.

Private Client Sub-Brand, 2013

In addition to our regular suite of marketing collateral aimed at mid-market clients, material for a new sub-brand “Private Client”, which specifically targets our high net worth households, was needed.

The Private Client wordmark uses a classic font, coupled with a simple flourish to give it a custom feel. The design of both the wordmark and flagship brochure were deliberately kept simple and clean. Word counts were strictly adhered to to ensure an appropriate amount of white space on each page. Illustrations were kept very clean, and the main design element used throughout the materials is a large flourish set in a tint of the main colour, as part of the background. The clean and simple design was carried forward into new pieces, which fit nicely in the back pocket of the brochure.

The Private Client materials allow us to specifically target a high net worth audience in a way that they are accustomed to – high-quality paper stock and custom page sizes and shape. With the bulk of our traditional collateral being digitally printed-to-order, using press quality pieces on high-end stock with special treatments really elevated these pieces.

Previously our team would work in a silo, and didn’t typically work collaboratively across different teams, or even amongst ourselves. This really showcased our ability to work cross-departmentally to produce a high-quality piece, and there was internal collaboration between team members as well. Our team’s greatest strength is our ability to work well together and complement each other.

The major challenge we encountered was a requirement to create a personalized brochure. We needed the quality of a press print to respond to the need for a high-end piece, but the agility of a print-on-demand piece. We had recently shifted to a print-on-demand service, in order to cater to our 5,000 Consultants, who each run their own business and want personalized collateral, but while ordering in volumes of less than 10 copies at a time in most instances.

We solved this by creating a hybrid. Running a base stock on press, including a foil on the front cover, and custom page sizes within the brochure, and then housing this base stock at our print-on-demand vendor. When a Consultant orders a personalized brochure, they use our print-on-demand service (called MarketPlace), which automatically populates the photo and text placeholders with their own personal information, pulled from our database. Only pages 2 and 3 are customizable, the other pages are static. The technical planning was a logistic challenge, and a lot of thought, effort and collaboration went into making sure this piece would work the way we needed it to. It proved that we are able to think outside the box and meet the demand for a high-quality piece that is both attainable and usable for our Consultants in order to court a future high net worth client.

‘Our Dollars Make Change ‘ United Way Workplace Campaign, 2011

Each year, an emphasis is placed on Investors Group’s United Way workplace campaign. In having a 50-year relationship with UW, we have a large volunteer committee made up of employees and retirees that oversees the campaign and sets goals for donation amounts. The main goal of the Our Dollars Make Change campaign was to increase the percentage of participation amongst employees. The campaign design had to grab people’s attention and inspire them to take action. At the end of the campaign, the company’s goal had been exceeded.

The first element of the campaign was the logo design. The “G” in “Change” was rotated to create an arrow/ directional graphic to create the impression of movement and transformative shift. It was then enlarged, to draw emphasis to it. Vibrant colours were used, in a combination that is still fresh today. Once the logo was approved, all creative stemmed from that. The arrow was used in repeating patterns on posters and elevator decals, and negative space was showcased very effectively. We placed decals on six elevators in our building, using them as small billboards for a captive audience – resulting in a large impact on viewers.

Because the workplace campaign creative is different every year, it didn’t affect the UW campaign brand per se. What it did do, was pave the way for more exciting and unexpected creative to appear in a corporate environment.

The main challenge faced on this project, was to find the right font with the best looking “G” to create the arrow/directional effect, and bring this concept to life. The challenge was solved by working and playing with the typography and letterforms to create an visually exciting typographic experience.

Every now and again, it’s important to work on a project like this. Being able to design something that is very non-corporate is important to us as designers, and always helps us to grow.

Apex Summit Conference, 2015

Investors Group’s annual Apex Summit conference offers advanced financial planning and practice management training to approximately 1,500 Consultants.
With a theme supplied to us, our task is visually translate and implement through various deliverables. For the first time, we collaborated with our Web Development Team to design a clean and functional website – a vast improvement over previous years.
We needed to come up with a vibrant concept that would energize our Consultants and reflect the tone of the event. The process began with the development of the logo. A geometric and modern shape, it features a stylized F reflected upon itself – representing the two “F”s from the tagline “The Future in Focus.” The negative space between the two letterforms forms an arrow – representative of growth and upward movement. This is reinforced with the base of the rectangular prism in place – making the entire image look like an ascending elevator car. The font chosen to complement the image is Futura – for its geometric letterforms and many weights – an important consideration with all of the deliverables attached to the conference. The colour palette of oranges and grey served to contrast the background imagery it would be placed on – a geometric interpretation of both the Vancouver shoreline and the mountains of British Columbia. The “focus” element of the theme was further conveyed in the creative by placing a radial blur on this “shattered glass” background centering on the middle of the poster. The white border around the edges of the poster served as a visual resting place for what could have otherwise been considered a very busy piece. The red tab on the top right was intentionally bled off the page – a visual moment of interest we used in the same manner on all other pieces.

We were able to use the many clever design elements separately and in tandem on each respective design piece. Where space or content wouldn’t allow, each element was very readily recognizable as part of the larger Apex Summit brand.

Our biggest challenge with this conference is the sheer volume of design work required (with all pieces created in both English and French), with tight timelines and often new additions outside of original scope. We have to be agile to keep up with the demand, and our team works so effectively, that we are able to pick up projects from others when they are overloaded and deadlines are looming.

The collaboration with our Web Development team was a huge step for our team. Until this year, our departments would often operate in silos – with little or no interaction, resulting in a disjointed end-product. Working in tandem with the Web team, from concept to creation, provided the end-user with a consistent visual story, from registration, to promotion, to the navigation of the event itself. This opportunity showcased that our team adds value at all touch points for our audiences – print, web, mobile and environmental!

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