Established in 1996, Currencies Direct is a non-bank specializing in foreign exchange payments and international payments for both individuals moving overseas and for businesses buying and selling abroad. Headquartered in the UK with operations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States, Currencies Direct processes 220,000 transactions a year, it will transact $4 billion this year in currency paymentsm and it will now do so with a smile. Earlier this year, the company introduced a new identity designed by London-based The Allotment.
Currencies Direct brand had a strong service offer based a distinctive and unique ability to deal with their customers in a personal and friendly way. This empathy though had not been translated into a compelling narrative or brand identity. Currencies Direct had an overly complex business that created artificial barriers and in the process of trying to serve everyone, served some less. The brand felt inhuman and disconnected.
Working closely with Currencies Direct we articulated a new vision, mission and a set of values which succinctly captured the unique personality of the business. Direct, human, simple, and driven became the mandate for the new brand. This led us to the solution of the ‘Chatty’ icon for the identity and a tone of voice which is human and straightforward, No fluff, no jargon - just great service and value, delivered in a personal way.
The old logo was barely a logo — more like a web button that got a promotion without a raise or a new office. Although it did have those dashing rays swirling around it in its old look. So an improvement wouldn’t be hard. The new logo completely changes the personality of the business from a strip mall currency exchange single location to a personalized service that looks trustful and friendly. I have a soft spot for smiling logos made out of the letters of an organization so I am predisposed to like this and I do. The “CD” abstraction into a smiling face brings instant warmth to Currencies Direct and stops right before it gets all cuddly and unserious — perhaps that’s debatable, but I think it does. The typography is okay and I would have been more enthusiastic about it had they not circumcised the “r”s.
In application, the identity is light and airy, with thin-line icons filled with thin-line angled patterns and a simple color palette of light blue, orange, white, and black. At times, as in the brochure and web samples, it looks sophisticated and crisp, and at others, as in the animation, it looks more rudimentary and not quite as appropriate for a company moving thousands of moneys. Overall, the improvement is unquestionable and the new identity gives the company a clear personality and establishes better expectations with its audience.