Layer 6 is dedicated to solving some of the world’s biggest challenges with transparent and accountable artificial intelligence systems. The company blends deep learning research with practical deployments to improve the lives of millions of Canadians, and countless more internationally.
Layer 6 required a new visual identity to establish a better position the competitive landscape and help the company attract talented applicants to join their rapidly expanding team.
Our design process is powered by discovery meetings and a comprehensive creative brief document. This approach enables deeper client understanding and ensures alignment on company goals and communication objectives. Stakeholders are able to make meaningful contributions early in the process and review creative strategy before any visual designs are created.
Insights and other direction established by the creative brief are carried into preliminary web content planning.
The logo for Layer 6 communicates a modern vision of the relationship between technical systems and the human touch. This design expresses confident simplicity through a group of playfully distinct custom letterforms.
Original typography in the logo helps balance a foundation of brand credibility with a warm and approachable personality.
The Layer 6 website combines technical precision with warm and inviting elements. This design has been curated to attract the most talented minds in machine learning and encourage them to apply for positions.
A bold and energetic colour palette is tempered by refined linear graphic elements that speak directly to an audience of ML researchers. Photography and video of the Layer 6 team and their real-world impacts help build an accessible and inspiring visual language.
Showcasing past publications and prestigious wins from various international data science competitions helps further solidify Layer 6 as a leader in machine learning and deep learning systems. The web layout was also designed to clearly highlight the roster of talented people currently on the team.
Acquired by TD Bank Group in 2018, Layer 6 offers employees a range of exclusive benefits and perks. One of the driving communication challenges of the new site was to showcase the list of reasons why top talent in machine learning should consider Layer 6 on their journey for personal development.
A flexible content management system was developed to handle multiple types of content ranging from publication listings, job postings, and team members.
The Layer 6 website uses meaningful visual elements to engage viewers and create a memorable experience. Layouts are brought to life with rich linear animations that further draw the viewer into page content.
In addition to attracting top machine learning talent, employee retention is another critical aspect of company success. By carefully crafting the onboarding process, Layer 6 is able to create an exciting and memorable transition experience for new hires.
A curated social media presence allows Layer 6 to share competition wins, recent highlights, and quickly disseminate career postings to a wide audience. Prospective employees can engage with Layer 6 through these channels to get a better sense of company culture.
Formerly named HackerYou, Juno College has been at the forefront of tech education in Toronto since 2012. The team behind this incredible learning community has helped thousands of students transition to careers in tech and continues to expand their offering.
Juno required assistance with a comprehensive rebranding process. New identity design material needed to reflect the broader ambitions of the organization while also maintaining a deep connection with the college’s extended network of alumni and hiring partners.
A streamlined responsive site was required for Juno’s launch at Y Combinator’s S19 Demo Day. Approachable, elevated art direction aims to inspire and inform all viewers of the site. Photography showcasing authentic learning experiences and clear messaging also helps to set the stage for Juno’s unique offering.
A ripped paper metaphor and colourful brush strokes were created to bring in an additional sense of artistry and human touch. These elements provide balance for the other geometric forms found in the wordmark and primary typefaces throughout the site.
Juno’s courses and workshops needed to reach people at various stages of their decision-making journey. Designed with both skimmers and deep readers in mind, course pages provide as little or as much information as various prospective students might be looking for.
A wealth of lead gen CTAs were elegantly integrated into the site planning and layout design, focusing on strategic relevance at certain parts of the funnel.
Warm, friendly layouts put focus on the stories of real people and depict their transition into new careers as web developers. These stories highlight community successes and inspire other prospective students to start their own learning journeys at the college.
Clear messaging about Juno's unique value proposition and learning environment were important to reiterate throughout the site.
This messaging is supported by an expansive colour palette that represents the college’s youthful, diverse, and vibrant learning community. This fresh colour palette also provides Juno with a more distinct appearance in the competitive landscape which is dominated by less refined corporate colour schemes.
Interviews confirmed that reviews and testimonials are very important for prospective students in the early stages of their decision making process. Special care and attention was applied to student stories and showcasing specific examples of Juno’s proven process on the site.
The generation of all visual identity assets, web layouts, and other collateral material are guided by a comprehensive design strategy.
This strategy is a primary focus of our core design process and is reflected by creative brief and web planning documents established early in the project arc.
Juno’s logo lockup was created to synthesize the concepts of digital precision and human authenticity. Blending typographic elegance with memorable geometric angles gives the college identity a meaningful cornerstone that underpins all other design materials.
Special care was also taken to preserve and enhance the existing HackerYou brand icon. This work demonstrates that valuable brand equity can be preserved through an identity update, and that existing brand assets can be enhanced and reinvigorated.
Considering the appearance of a new visual identity on social media is essential to any contemporary design exercise. Deep consideration was applied to new templates for noticeable and flexible images, along with other announcements made via Twitter, Instagram, and other relevant platforms.
These templates celebrate student employment, impressive college stats, and other snapshots of lively campus culture.
Twitter in particular is an important channel for Juno, as it connects directly to an audience of alumni, prospective students, and corporate hiring partners.
Tweet templates were created to help promote student success stories, advertise events, and share other announcements with a consistent level of quality and visual character.
Supporting design systems were also explored for reports and other printed marketing materials. These pieces extend the prioritization of student success stories seen in other digital formats, while delivering other important info clearly and concisely.
Juno recognizes the importance of engaging students who are currently moving through their learning journey and makes special efforts to sustain their appreciation.
Specific materials and unique visual designs were generated for each full-time Immersive cohort to recognize the personality and energy of each group. A unique and memorable icon style was included in the identity to give life and personality to these assets.
Specific apparel was conceptualized to help the college connect with a young audience of style-conscious learners and promote a meaningful sense of school pride.
These assets have been created in limited runs and have sold out at every community offering.
The confluence of impactful messaging, distinct colouration, authentic visual identity assets, and confident branding makes the perfect mix to generate sales qualified leads and ensure there is a steady flow of new student applications.
Identity standards documents produced by our studio are comprehensive and deeply valuable. Type system details, brand mark variations, colour palette nuances, layout considerations, and other general design guidance is formalized and reflected in a single PDF.
This resource enables all future internal and external teams to align with the same system of understanding and empowers them to generate new design collateral that is beautiful, effective, and on-brand.
blogTO is Toronto’s main stop for local news, reviews, and best of lists. Created in 2004, it’s one of the city’s longest standing culture sites.
A new visual identity and responsive web design were required to help the organization preserve its place as a contemporary destination for all things Toronto.
The refreshed blogTO logo combines influences from editorial design, typographic sensitivities from the modern web, and a visual nod to the early days of blogging.
This simple, meaningful approach provides blogTO with a wordmark that communicates with authenticity and is better able to stand the test of time.
Part of blogTO’s ongoing success stems from their sustained investment in social media. Each of their channels boasts a robust following and the organization tries hard to keep their audiences engaged.
Specific versions of the wordmark were designed to live comfortably in the icon formats required by various social properties.
It’s no secret that the majority of contemporary internet traffic comes from mobile devices. blogTO wanted to reinvest in creating a great reading experience for users on any device or browser.
Specific attention was paid to the design of individual article pages. Users are becoming more likely to first land on these pages via shared content on social. Individual article templates have become just as important as the home page itself.
Photography plays a huge role in user engagement and blogTO is dedicated to making sure each article portrays assets effectively.
Strong visuals are supported by various layout systems that allow different templates to properly manage a wide range of content.
Maps and address data are central to a location-based content strategy. Contemporary mapping services were skinned and incorporated into the redesign of specific page templates. These solutions were created to communicate clearly on any browser or mobile device.
Themed slideshows are a very effective way to quickly tell a visually engaging story about a local establishment. Significant effort was dedicated to the creation of an immersive, full-screen image gallery experience. A system was also designed to allow unobtrusive ad integration.
Once logged in the user has access to a dashboard and a wide range of useful features to further promote engagement with blogTO articles, reviews, and best of lists.
An innovative approach to the responsive dashboard design feels bespoke and elevates the brand.
Continued emphasis on photo and image content keeps the app design from feeling dry or cumbersome. Special attention was dedicated to creating flexible layout systems and strong typographic hierarchies.
blogTO’s responsive platform and web app were developed by the amazing team at Hipo.
Video content is becoming one of the primary ways blogTO engages with millions of users on social media. Engagement metrics and opportunities for expanding relationships with advertisers rely on motion design to capture attention from audiences across various properties.
A cohesive system for video art direction, text overlays, and other graphic elements was required to maintain brand consistency in this growing medium.
Various animations and motion graphics were created to provide art direction to blogTO’s internal production team.
Maple offers online doctor consultations to Canadians anytime 24/7. With a convenient, patient-centric model, the company hopes to create a more sustainable system for healthcare delivery by reducing the load on overburdened clinics and emergency facilities.
The team at Maple required a visual identity, responsive web presence, and digital product design to help realize their vision.
All design exercises start with a creative brief. This paints a clear picture of the communication goals, competitive landscape, and target audience profiles.
With a creative brief established, the next task is to define a brand voice and messaging strategy. The hierarchy and tone established here helps ensure consistency in all Maple communications. Consistent messaging is essential and leads to feelings of trust and confidence in the brand.
Maple’s marketing site had the challenge of introducing a novel service to Canadian users who are not accustomed to paying for doctor consultations. As such, special emphasis on the personal benefits of this convenient, patient-centric service was required to immediately convey value and drive conversions.
Various pages of the marketing site blend approachable design, illustration, and copywriting to put users at ease and help Maple stand apart from other current and future competitors. These pieces are assisted greatly by the charming illustration work of Sam Island.
Underneath this layer of approachability are strong alignments and good type hierarchies. This solid visual foundation makes the layout feel credible and helps inspire feelings of trust.
Showcasing the names, faces, and biographies of Maple physicians greatly facilitates user conversions and also inspires other doctors to join Maple’s care network.
For a closer look at the generation of Maple’s identity and design collateral, read our case study on Medium.
Many UX and UI considerations were delivered for Maple’s iOS app design, a key element of their growth roadmap. The app experience needed to anticipate a wide range of audiences and convey the same feelings of trust and warmth expressed on the marketing site.
Various parts of the onboarding process were broken onto multiple screens to focus the user action at each step.
Users expect text messaging and video chat to be straightforward and uncluttered. The Maple consultation experience was crafted with familiar UI patterns and general ease of use in mind.
The memorable brand colour palette is used strategically throughout the app to focus attention on certain elements at the appropriate times.
Following their diagnosis, the user has an option for free delivery of any required prescriptions. Since this is still a novel service, great care was taken to succinctly explain the process to help address any concerns.
To maintain a high standard of care and service, Maple collects a variety of feedback from users following every consultation.
Special care was taken to ensure every step of the user onboarding process maintained a consistent, characterful brand experience.
Use of colour, illustration, and copywriting all combine with a unique take on the design of typical form elements to elevate the page.
Much effort was dedicated to the planning and execution of Maple’s web app. Preliminary designs lead to user testing which fed crucial info back into the design process. Ultimately the result is an app experience that feels branded, intuitive, trustworthy, and interesting.
Canadians aren’t used to paying for on-demand healthcare, so a clear system was designed to provide pricing transparency and make sure each user knew how much the consultation would cost.
Custom brand-specific icons were designed for different time blocks to help visually communicate the pricing structure.
Maple doctors can diagnose a wide range of issues based on text conversations, image sharing, and video chat. They can even provide prescriptions and doctor’s notes remotely.
The design system here needed to simply and clearly manage all the variable data and states of the online consultation.
Special care was taken with the design of the summary pages to ensure the patient has clear access to all the consultation info, prescriptions, and next steps provided by the doctor.
A system was also designed to rate the consultation experience, as this is another key aspect of the patient-centric brand vision.
Canada Learning Code is on a mission to help 10 million Canadians learn vital skills for the digital economy. Through program workshops, strategic partnerships, and a focus on underrepresented demographics in STEM, the organization is changing the landscape of tech education nationwide.
CLC’s leadership team required a new overarching, national identity to unify its various programs in a brand umbrella, along with a design strategy to ensure quality and consistency of all communication touchpoints moving forward.
The positioning of a new identity requires clear definition of audiences and communication goals. The creative brief process captures essential input from stakeholders and sets a criteria for successful messaging and visual design.
A positioning strategy for the preservation of established, well-known program identities like Ladies Learning Code was also essential to the process of generating CLC’s new national brand.
CLC required the creation of a new logomark to communicate stability and accessibility to a wide audience of learners, educators, partners, and volunteers.
Refinements to existing program logos helped establish a flexible system for the addition of new initiatives in the future.
CLC believes that coding education can make a significant impact on the lives of all Canadians, and contribute greatly to the health of Canada’s economy. Aspects of the new visual identity represent the energy created by the intersection of the digital and physical world.
The responsive layout was designed to accommodate french and english content in all page sections. Key stats and other achievements were called out to help viewers read quickly. Social media integration was another important aspect of the site design to support CLC’s impressive number of followers nationwide.
Social media is a critical aspect of CLC’s communication strategy. Twitter in particular allows CLC to promote events and engage with communities associated with its various programs. Large groups of learners, partners, and volunteers are united by conversations and the common goal of making tech education accessible to all.
Founded in 2011, Ladies Learning Code is the original educational program. Over the years it has gained much notoriety and brand equity, so the challenge was to integrate it into the larger brand umbrella while preserving its character and charm.
Updates were made to LLC’s visual language with new typographic and illustration styles.
For a deeper look at our collaborations with LLC since 2011, read our design retrospective on Medium.
Encouraging kids, particularly girls, to develop an interest in coding is central to the success of CLC’s mission. A range of design collateral was created to support these educational programs and encourage young minds to pursue an interest in technology.
Classrooms also play an essential role in making coding education more accessible to young Canadians. CLC created specific material that allows teachers to deliver existing curriculum through the lens of coding exercises. Simple, characterful visual design was required to help these assets communicate clearly and inspire educators.
Canada Learning Code’s new visual identity will be used by various team members, volunteers, and community partners. This resource helps ensure graphic standards are upheld during the application, extension, or future generation of brand assets.
Visual consistency across a range of touchpoints helps elevate the organization, underscores credibility, and encourages the formation of new partnerships.
Quality and consistency are also required when working with specific program-level identities. A second resource was created to highlight typographic treatments, illustration styles, use of colour, and other essential characteristics for each program initiative.
Plaza Ventures is a forward-thinking venture capital firm focused on the innovation economy. Their annual micro-funds connect growth-stage companies to a wealth of knowledge and private capital from successful families.
The team at PV required a visual identity overhaul, new web presence, and refined messaging strategy to resonate with private investors and visionary entrepreneurs.
The most effective marketing messages combine aspects of authenticity, audience definition, and competitive landscape awareness. Creative strategy defines these aspects and explores top-level concepts to get stakeholder approval before design execution.
Once established, creative strategy powers a web content planning exercise and helps to define communication requirements for that brand touchpoint.
This updated design provides a sense of structure and established brand presence, while also maintaining a visual connection to PV’s previous logomark and parent company Plazacorp.
Subtle typographic details add visual interest and encourage memorability with new audiences.
Plaza Ventures is community-oriented and believes success is derived from great relationships. The firm actively connects investors with company leadership to help all parties achieve a successful outcome.
The new website was designed to celebrate these relationships and put the focus on great teams and outstanding individuals.
The website was designed to accommodate future growth as PV brings new teams into the family. Portfolio company cards and other company-specific layout elements anticipate content variability and allow brand colours to create vibrancy on the page.
The overall art direction allows individual portfolio companies to be showcased and celebrated, highlighting details about PV’s relationships with various teams.
Successful websites find a deeper connection between page content and create harmony within those expressions. PV’s new web presence unites typography, icon design, infographics, photography, and layout with a sense of openness and transparency. This unification creates a memorable experience and imparts a positive impression of the brand.
High-quality, consistent visual design is the product of thorough preparation. An identity standards guide and other document templates help to ensure all team members understand the components of the visual language and are equipped to use the assets provided.
Function is a Toronto-based design studio focused on the propagation of meaningful solutions to a variety of communication design challenges.
Brand definition, visual identity, messaging strategy, contemporary web solutions, and digital product design are all passions. We understand and respond to the ever-changing nature of the design landscape to create real value for our clients. In short, we design for business, we design for love.
Juno College (YC S19) is a recently launched rebrand of HackerYou – a diverse, welcoming community training people to quickly find careers in tech. Frank and Vivian have been working closely with the team since 2012 to develop a rich brand language spanning visual identity, responsive web properties, and print & social media materials. This 2019 relaunch provides a solid brand foundation for Juno as they continue to disrupt higher education over the next decade.
We love collaborating with passionate entrepreneurs, growth stage startups, and established businesses to create or re-energize brand identities. Our team moves quickly and offers valuable insights from an external perspective. Email us and let’s get started.
blogTO is the leading authority for what’s on in Toronto and compelling video content has become one of the primary ways this independent media company connects with millions of viewers on social media. Engagement metrics and opportunities for expanding relationships with advertisers rely on crafted motion design to build audiences and sustain interest. Frank and Vivian are proud to have an ongoing relationship with blogTO that focuses on the exploration and delivery of contemporary visual treatments.