Wealthy students are ten times more likely to go to a top university than those from poorer backgrounds. Digital mentoring platform Zero Gravity is changing that, by propelling state school students from some of Britain’s toughest areas into the UK’s best universities, powered by free support from the country’s leading undergraduates.
Through intelligent design and impactful messaging, London-based brand consultancy Lantern helped this pioneering social enterprise with its mission of empowering students to succeed.
Founded by social entrepreneur Joe Seddon, the tech-for-good brand is an evolution of Access Oxbridge – the business Joe set up two years ago with just £200 left over 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 student 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 programmes, 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 a the visual and verbal style for a tech brand, this was about transforming a mentoring platform into a movement for change” says 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” he adds.
A bold, vibrant colour 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 organisation’s online presence, which was built by Brighton-based Rob Dove. “With the impact of Coronavirus making future access to university more challenging than ever, we’re proud to have partnered with an organisation that’s providing such impactful support at such a pivotal time.” says Tym.
- Agency/Creative: Lantern
- Article Title: Lantern Brands New Digital Mentoring Platform “Zero Gravity”
- Organisation/Entity: Agency, Published Commercial Design
- Project Type: Identity
- Agency/Creative Country: United Kingdom
- Market Region: Europe
- Project Deliverables: Brand Advertising, Brand Creation, Brand Design, Brand Guidelines, Brand Identity, Brand Redesign, Brand Rejuvenation, Brand Strategy, Brand World, Branding, Graphic Design, Identity System, Rebranding, Research, Tone of Voice
- Industry: Education
- Keywords: Tech, Tech for Good, Social Enterprise, Digital Platform, Education, EdTech