Canvas began life as Jumpstart, an all-in-one recruiting platform for students looking to jumpstart their career. It soon became clear to Jumpstart’s team that people needed support throughout their journeys and not just at the beginning, and that companies also needed practical help finding diverse talent at every level.
Founder and CEO Ben Herman approached Pentagram to help reposition Canvas as the first tech and finance recruitment platform that enables candidates to represent their whole selves, connect with its collaborative community and discover opportunities to both start and progress their careers.
The Canvas brand has people at its heart, and Pentagram’s design team created an expressive brand symbol that embodies this. Its dynamic, human-made mark represents activity and potential, with the spiral suggesting change and continuous growth, echoing the workplace journey of both the candidates and businesses who sign up for its services.
The brand symbol’s oval proportion is abstracted to create a unique ‘profile’ shape. The resulting dimensions naturally frame a portrait photograph, and the shape is used throughout the brand system to frame the people at the centre of the Canvas community. Each member creates a profile and can either upload a photo or create a unique personalised gradient for their avatar. The Canvas shape also pairs with ‘context’ images, underlaid beneath the framed portraits, that provide context to the personalities, showing a diversity of geographic and industry locations in which work happens. Pentagram curated a photographic set of relaxed, natural portraits and a variety of landscape and workplace locations.
In a further extension of the unique Canvas shape, a generative 3D language was introduced to further express the brand’s core values and ideas. The profile shapes are abstractly rendered as 3D plains with dynamic, refracting gradient colour spaces, showing the ‘profile’ with both a layered, faceted depth as well as the relationship between multiple profiles creating communities. Pentagram created an online tool so that Canvas can output bespoke compositions of rendered profile plains on demand. Many different combinations and crops of these colourful and dynamic shapes can be used across brand assets to speak to the broader themes of the Canvas brand story as well as creating more specific narratives where necessary.
The wordmark is based on the brand typeface Cambon, with the serifs and curves finely adjusted to match the rhythm and angles found in the spiral of the symbol. Its humanist style bridges the gap between the expressive brand symbol and the more formal graphic brand language. Cambon is used for headline copy throughout. A contemporary flared serif, it maintains a humanist warmth across all the brand assets, and it is supported by Monument Grotesk as the secondary typeface. This versatile and robust sans serif adds authority and a structural tonal contrast to the headline typeface and wordmark.
Canvas’s primary colour palette is cool and sophisticated and features black, white and mist (a barely-there pale grey/green). The complementary secondary colours are cool grey, light grey, moss green, a bright Canvas green and a pale sky blue. The extended colour palette with brighter and warmer tones adds additional flexibility.
Tone of voice also plays an integral part in Canvas’ brand identity, helping it stand out in an already crowded marketplace and reinforcing its aim to be ‘The #1 Diversity Recruiting Platform’. Pentagram’s writing and strategy team positioned Canvas as ‘Compassionate Challengers’, driven by love and empathy, with a mission to shift mindsets and make change happen. As well as a series of taglines and key messages, the team also devised a set of simple but effective strategies for Canvas to encourage businesses to build a more diverse workforce and to position itself as a positive agent of change. Diversity can be daunting for employers, but Canvas’s new brand language is supportive and inclusive, focusing on the solution rather than the problem, with a light but direct touch designed to empower and encourage.
Pentagram has created a new brand identity for Canvas that perfectly conveys its mission to bring real and lasting change to the workplace, helping businesses from startups to Fortune 500 companies to build diverse teams and creating a community to support and promote the brightest talent, who or wherever you are.