Lantern has designed branding for a tech-for-good organization, that's helping students from low-income backgrounds get great advice and support from university undergrads through a digital mentoring platform. Founded by social entrepreneur Joe Seddon, Zero Gravity is an evolution of Access Oxbridge - the business Joe set up two years ago with just £200 leftover from his student loan. By 2019 it had helped 50 students get into Oxbridge. Now it's estimated that a tenth of Oxford's disadvantaged students are graduates of his scheme.
As the platform rapidly expands to include all Russell Group universities, Zero Gravity turned to Lantern to develop a brand that delicately balances authenticity and attitude, to engage effectively with a young, marketing resistant audience. The results speak for themselves, with over 1,000 students signed- up to work as mentors for pupils from low-income backgrounds within 24 hours of the brand launching. Mentors will help students with personal statements, admissions tests, and mock interviews. Compared to traditional uni outreach programs, Zero Gravity focuses on one-to-one mobile video sessions.
By connecting the UK's most exciting talent - regardless of their background - with mentors, universities and employers, Zero Gravity creates a continuous staircase for students to achieve their full potential. But despite the credentials, it was crucial that the brand challenged design clichés from both the charity and education sectors. "More than just creating the visual and verbal style for a tech brand, this was about transforming a mentoring platform into a movement for change," explained Lantern's Director, Ryan Tym.
"The new logo and supporting identity system uses seemingly impossible shapes to reflect the challenge that state school students from disadvantaged backgrounds can face. Messaging such as 'Home grown. World-class' tackles class stereotypes head-on. Headlines like 'Higher education. Now within reach' capture the essence of a student population that's defying gravity," Tym added.
A bold, vibrant color palette reflects the positive energy that drives mentors and mentees forward, whilst positioning the brand away from the traditional look and feel of both the education and charity sectors. It also delivers maximum impact on screen, an important consideration for a digital brand. Archia, the sans serif typeface is unconventional in its form, with unusual angles that mimic the geometric nature of the logo and illustrations. Through unique characteristics, it expresses the sentiment that students should celebrate their individual backgrounds.
Lantern worked with Zero Gravity on the visual and verbal brand identity, as well as designing the organization's online presence, which was built by Brighton-based Rob Dove.