Inside Ownr’s New Brand: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Our Designers

4 minute read

You may have noticed our recent makeover—we’re pretty proud of our new look and we’re so excited we get to finally share it with you. We sat down with Daniel Kaplan and Jess Atkinson, the creative director and lead designer on the project, respectively. They talked to us about colours, fonts, logos, and why simple is often best. See what they had to say about Ownr’s new brand and what advice they have for entrepreneurs working on their own brand.

Ownr: Tell us about the new branding.

Daniel and Jess: We initially started to update the look and feel of the brand for Ownr before they acquired Founded. When the Founded team joined, it was important to us to create a visual identity that we collectively felt represented entrepreneurs. Two teams merging with different experiences and ideas of what the brand should evoke can be challenging to balance. 

The original Ownr brand was done in a few days and since then, the team had taken the time to think about who they were as a company and where they were headed. Having gone through that exercise, it seemed like a good time to invest in refreshing the look to reflect this work. The original branding used a dominant orange colour. It didn’t have a symbol other than the wordmark and relied on a variety of stock photography. It also used a lot of gradients which are difficult to apply and felt outdated.

Let’s talk about the new logo. Where did the symbol come from?

Our challenge was that we wanted the logo to represent a few things: upward growth (which comes through in the triangle), the coming together of multiple business needs, and simplicity or ease of use.

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We spent a lot of time figuring out what the icon or symbol would be for the brand. We brought in four different designers to explore the symbol, and they went in all different directions. The challenge was to create something that was both simple yet ownable.

It’s important that our logo is recognizable, as well as that it can be applied in different sizes and use cases, for example as social icons on mobile devices or in print materials. A good logo is one you can draw in the sand.

The final badge consists of three segments that balance or stack on one another. Inside the logo, you’ll notice a triangle that’s pointing up. It was important that it represented an upward trajectory because when you join Ownr as a user you’re looking to build a business and ultimately grow that business.

Another important aspect was the concept of building blocks. Ownr essentially brings together all the different pieces you need to build a business, the building blocks so to speak. The three segments of the badge mirror the three different stages of business: start, manage, and grow.

The segments of the badge are just as significant to the brand as the badge as a whole. Separated, they can also be used as a graphic storytelling device to emphasize the stories of entrepreneurs.

Can you talk about the wordmark?

At Ventures, we typically recommend a typeface called Neue Haas Unica (Ownr is an RBC Ventures company and Daniel and Jess work for the Strategic Design team within RBC Ventures).

The team felt the font needed more personality, so we thickened it up and made the O a perfect circle to add geometry to the wordmark—which better reflected Ownr’s brand personality and created a nice cohesiveness with the geometry of the badge. You could also add that the circular shape echoed the form of the badge, widened out the R so it felt more balanced, and unified the strokes. 

The wordmark is midnight purple, which is derived from our primary purple colour, which in some cases can look black. There is no black in the brand, and using this dark purple creates cohesiveness: everything you see feels like it belongs to Ownr. Everything comes from the same source, a branch of the brand.

Tell us more about the new colours:

Purple made the most sense for the brand. Colour psychology states that purple is known for imagination and courage—key traits of many entrepreneurs. It feels serious but energetic, and it also meets contrast accessibility standards.

An exploration of secondary colours was also underway before the Founded acquisition, and once they came on board it really worked well because we weren’t that far apart from their palette, which they really liked.

It sounds like everyone was aligned on colour. What was the process like for the font?

We wanted to get the font right, so we placed quite a bit of focus on this part.

Most brands in professional services feel like you need a serif font in your headlines, but we wanted