Since 2018, the European Investment Fund (EIF) has been bringing together more than 250 VC fund managers to its annual conference, called the Ugly Duck. The conference, held in Luxembourg, unites this large number of speakers and industry practitioners to share experiences and deliver insightful points of view about European Venture Capital (VC).
Communicating the development and process of European VC in a coherent, interesting way is a challenge that the economic world has faced for a long time. However, over the past several years, this gap in language has been filled with a strong narrative based in mythological tales and fantastic animals. Today, it is common within the industry to refer to specific points of evolution in venture capital as unicorns, dragons, ponies, etc.
Through data-driven insights and theme-specific breakout session, the event is supporting the notion that European VC is no longer the ugly duckling asset class. In order to cement the conference in people’s agendas and raise awareness of the work that the EIF is doing, the team requested a stronger branding for Ugly Duck.
By providing a bold and compelling typeface, we brought an element of friendliness with an elegant twist to the logo’s original essence. We also wanted to play with the concept of “ugly” by using a classic, beautiful typeface to serve as the antithesis to the unattractive.
In the process of tweaking the typeface, we shaped the “g” to resemble a duckling. This was done to cleverly incorporate a symbol of the event into the logo, allowing it to resonate with the audience and become a memorable wordmark.
The UD 2019 campaign brief was to find a way of representing the next gathering of VC fund managers whilst highlighting the introduction of dedicated sessions to the event for the EIF’s 3 key areas of investment: Technology, Life Sciences and Social Impact. Mucho’s winning proposal highlighted the mythological nature of this asset class delivered in a playful/fun way – offering a disruptive design for a disruptive industry.
We decided that for each key area of investment, we would create a unique character- reminiscent of an unconventional superhero-with personality traits that represent the VC managers’.
Each character was given a unique graphic style and special powers that speak to their deepest ambitions for the future of the VC world. Blues and pinks were chosen as the central colors of the conference, and used as the central palette to light and shade the illustrations of these characters. Additionally, we came up with a system of symbols for each character that represent their main attributes and what they mean to the EIF.
-Vision: the wizard of Technology, they are capable of using their knowledge of the past and present to innovate the narrative for tomorrow’s society.
-Dr. Future: the investment pioneer of Life Sciences, they are the curator of masterplans aimed at delivering health.
-Opportunity: the warrior of Social Impact, they are the millennial-a world-changing agent.