Changing the face of venture debt: In discussion with BOOST&Co’s illustrator, Eli H. Han

BOOST&Co isn’t your standard investment firm – we’re not afraid to buck the trends, step out of our comfort zone, and do things a little differently. Nowhere is that clearer than in our design and branding – from our website design, to each of our blog and social media posts, we have a pretty unique aesthetic. This week, we speak to Eli Han – the designer, illustrator, and artist responsible for it all.

 

♦ It’s pretty unusual for an investment company – or any financial services business of your size – to have an in-house designer and illustrator. Why were you brought into BOOST&Co?

BOOST&Co is attracted to the innovative and unusual, so management wanted to create a brand identity that was completely fresh and distinct from anything else within the industry. I had studied illustration, animation, and graphic communication and wanted to explore combining all three within a commercial setting.

Management took a very original step in recruiting a full-time designer and illustrator, but at first, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a firm that was still quite small and in financial services. I was willing to give it a go, though! And I’ve come to love that BOOST&Co appreciates people with the drive to make a difference by taking a new approach. That applies to everything we do – from our staff, to the companies and management teams we invest in. That obviously gives me a lot of freedom in how I approach our design and branding.

 

 

♦ What inspired the BOOST&Co brand’s look and feel, and colour palette? They’re quite unusual for this market.

I started out by researching organisations within our field and sector, and discovered palettes of quite neutral blues and greys. Most of the websites used stock photography of people in suites, within standard office environments. I knew that this approach just wouldn’t reflect our culture, so I focused on creating the exact opposite!

The company logo had been created just before I joined, so this provided a direction for me to take with the colour palette. I kept the original orange as it is a colour associated with the unconventional, and I felt that this reflected our culture. I substituted the quite harsh black for a softer dark grey and chose a warmer cream. This made the logo softer but kept its strength. All of the other colours, including the mustard yellow, mint green, brown, and light grey were chosen to support and complement the orange.

 

 

♦  How about your design concept?

The main design concept is steampunk. Steampunk is a genre of science fiction and fantasy, often set during the Western industrial revolution, and features fantastical steam-powered machinery in traditional and historic periods. This really tied into the BOOST&Co ethos of blending familiar financial services with an innovative approach, and a desire to work with other innovative businesses and individuals. The steampunk concept also relates closely to the BOOST&Co team and the service we offer – we are young, innovative and creative. We understand entrepreneurship and that sometimes innovation requires risk. And because we’re entrepreneurs ourselves, or have chosen to work in a very entrepreneurial environment, we’re pretty adventurous and brave. Explorers, if you wilI! I added a further layer of fantasy by introducing organic elements such as water, animals, and plants. This allowed me to build metaphor into my work.

The second concept that we work to is vibrancy. We apply this to our design, but also to written content, blog, social media content and, of course the website. We want to create content that is organic, fun, modern and authentic. Authenticity is really important to us as a company and as individuals.

 

 

♦  It sounds like an exciting role. What is the most unusual work you’ve done for BOOST&Co, and what will you be working on next?

I’ve just finished a really interesting and challenging furniture project for our new offices. It involved illustrating an entire 2.3m2 tabletop, with all of the drawing done by hand and to scale. The drawing was then digitised, printed directly onto wood, and then sealed with a high gloss resin. It took a lot of hard work, but we’ve just taken delivery of the table and I’m really proud of it.

On a day to day basis, we never release a piece of content without an illustration to accompany it, so that means that I am constantly drawing and painting or creating digital artwork. Apart from all of the normal design and illustration work, I am currently working on a number of animated videos for the website, as well as a website redesign. So keep an eye on www.boostandco.com – there are interesting developments in the works!