Balance in Finance

Developing and Designing the Ollo Brand

According to virtually every study ever done (and my own crippling fears,) household finances are the number one cause of stress. In fact, just reading the word “finance” in the title probably caused some angst.


But it was necessary to set up the challenge of developing a new credit card brand. This anxiety helped shape and sharpen our process. Above all, the brand needed to come across as friendly, open and engaging.

Positioning & Naming

Ollo is serving people with a“near prime” credit rating, that’s a score of about 630 to 700. A lot of us fall in this range. There are plenty of entirely common ways to ding your credit score: a late payment or two, maxing your limit, closing a card, etc. Ollo wanted to have a broader perspective, one that sees people beyond an Equifax report.

Initial research found that most new financial brands stake out a position of either convention or disruption.

After dozens of focus groups we discovered, perhaps unsurprisingly, the truth is somewhere in between. We heard clearly that people want to know they are getting both real innovation AND a solid foundation. So our process became guided by a need for nuance.

From the hundreds of names generated “Ollo” was selected because it felt approachable but not too whimsical.

The open vowel sounds created a nice rhythm and most importantly the name helped convey the central tenant of the brand — when you pronounce ALL-O the “all” is a subtle nod to our customers that we see them as a whole person, not just a credit score.

The logo

We wanted Ollo to be both a verbal and visual palindrome. Most of the early exploration and iteration revolved around that idea.

The final logo used friendly, rounded lowercase letters set in a heavy stroke weight. This visual stability is balanced with a single bright, modern and optimistic color. The result is a ruthlessly reduced mark and graphic system.

The system

The circular motif was broadened into a cross-channel language and movement studies explored how the brand might behave in digital and interactive applications. We also incorporated a subtle gradient to add a sense of movement and progress.

A means to an end

A completed logo or identity system is never the goal — they are just a means to an end. And the end, in this case, was to create ways to build trust and reduce anxiety around finance, especially credit issues.

We looked for creative ways for the visual system to make a real impact in important moments for customers… like learning about credit scores, reading statements online, etc. We developed ideas designed to be as approachable, and clear as the brand itself.

In the end

As we said earlier, the main challenge was building a system that’s friendly and trustworthy right off the bat. This simple objective drove the process and ultimately the final choices of name, logo, color, and collateral.

We think the elements come together to provide a cohesive, expressive, balanced visual identity — one that conveys Ollo’s personality and purpose.

You can see the full case study here at our site: