(Est. 2010) “iShares is a family of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) managed by BlackRock. The first iShares ETFs were known as World Equity Benchmark Shares (WEBS) but have since been rebranded. Most iShares funds track a bond or stock market index, although some are actively managed. Stock exchanges listing iShares funds include the London Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, New York Stock Exchange, BATS Exchange, Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Toronto Stock Exchange, Australian Securities Exchange, and a number of European and Asian stock exchanges. iShares is the largest issuer of ETFs in the US and globally.” (Wikipedia)
Led by global brand design agency Turner Duckworth, it is meant to disrupt largely undifferentiated visual identities in the financial sector.
The visual identity has a strong point of view. It is tonally inspired by the passionate attitudes of historical and current champions of progress. Challengers of the status quo. By bringing this attitude of urgency and impact to life visually, iShares is more likely to connect with all types of investors, from personal to professional investors. Keeping things clear, punchy and to the point is meant to increase those chances.
Creative Director of Turner Duckworth New York, Andy Baron, notes the brief from the client was to help communicate the challenger spirit of iShares. “The new identity is loud, but not brash. Direct, but with charm. It reiterates their relentless innovation and hopefully forces reappraisal of the brand.”
Turner Duckworth provided press release
Images (opinion after)
This came across my inbox as a hot item — getting press-released from various fronts — and apparently iShares is a big thing. Given that my financial prowess is limited by the space between my mattress and bedframe where I keep my savings, I have no idea what “exchange-traded funds” are but I guess it’s a thing. What I didn’t know was that it was a thing that could be promoted as if it were early 2000s iPods. I’ll build up to that zinger but first, the logo. The old logo was awesome if you like semi serifs like Rotis but I hate them, so no loss for me on the old logo, which looked more like an eLearning tool. The new logo comes in a a cooler sans serif but is still unable to provide any indication of what iShares is or what kind of world it operates in — it could say “Radio Shack” and it would all be the same. Long way of saying, it’s fine but overly generic. The old applications were a little painful and dated but they did have a financial-y look to them. The new applications, visual language, and tone of voice are all over the place, trying to be funny and clever while somehow also trying to be The Wolf of Wall Street but the visual puns are bad and lame and the execution feels so dated, like a mix of the original iPod advertisements and mid 1990s annual reports. Overall, maybe this isn’t so bad but whenever I read stuff like this — “It is tonally inspired by the passionate attitudes of historical and current champions of progress. Challengers of the status quo.” — to describe an identity it triggers my bullshit detector and changes my whole disposition about how I look at the work.