Ascent is a company with two key offerings: first, an established charter helicopter service with a top-quality fleet of customized aircraft that serves multiple industries; second, a research and development group that develops innovative aerospace equipment. Both divisions had concerns that could be addressed through better messaging. In particular, Ascent Helicopters needed to differentiate themselves from their competitors, while Ascent Aerospace as a newer company needed to provide assurance.more
As we examined helicopter marketing, we noticed many presented themselves in a campy and amateurish fashion, in spite of their declarations of expertise. As a result, we looked at how Ascent could do the exact opposite, and explored notions of exclusivity.
This included mining iconography and treatments from groups such as federal agencies and secret societies. Doing so helped us establish a visual direction that seemed to convey a sensibility appropriate to Ascent's level of skill and experience.
We aimed to create pieces that felt dependable, precise, and solid. This was achieved through a series of treatments: the griffin icon that alludes to the mythical and majestic nature of flight; a sober color palette; crisp metallic inks; a combination of mechanical and detailed organic patterns; and a selection of visually rich photographs. The end result presents Ascent as a group that thrives in this industry, whose experience and relationships afford high-level service to the most discriminating clients, and can be trusted, given how technically precise and detail oriented they are.
With the Ascent brand and identity, we wanted to convey strength. As such, the griffin—a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle—seemed like the perfect means of illustrating such notions.
The Ascent wordmarks utilize a set of technical-seeming treatments to instill a sense of confidence and stability. Given the organization’s two distinct areas of operations, we use black on white for the Aerospace division, and reverse these tones for the Helicopters division. (Both rely on the griffin form as necessary.)
Upon closer inspection of the Ascent wordmark (most notably, the glyphs of the C, E, and N) the observant viewer finds a playful typographic treatment that creates an ascension through the actual letterforms. While it’s a very subtle nod, small details like these are a nice surprise for those who take the time to look.
All elements in the collateral system play with notions of exclusivity and duality. For example, in the business cards, we find a number of Rorschach-like organic forms coupled with mechanical dot patterns. On a tonal level, we see a warm brown/beige hue that carefully contrasts a harder feeling metallic ink.
We encouraged Ascent to consider good bottles of wine as a nice gift for clients and colleagues. These are made a little more personal through specially designed labels. The labels also feature the griffin, alongside a series of rich, complex textures that lend dimension and precise detail, all while articulating the beauty found in movement.
Ascent is often engaged by a rather select clientele, and needs to work with regulatory bodies; therefore, a pristine and visually powerful presentation is very important to them. Their printed collateral reflects this in items like their presentation folder and letterhead, which are quite delicately treated and have a visual tactility that we rarely find in common corporate materials.
Each item in the collateral system works within a kind of visual universe, playing off similar notions in varying ways. Above, we see the open presentation folder, containing a sheet of letterhead. On the top right is a presentation folder and, beneath, a sticker for use in random settings. You’ll likely notice that every item is unique, but joined through the use of consistent visual language.
The elements found in the Ascent identity are carried through to all aspects of the organization’s materials. Here, for example, we find the treatments applied to their helicopter.
The Ascent websites play within their respective color systems, with the Aerospace division taking on a light, bright sensibility, and the Helicopters group presenting a darker, moodier tone. Strong visual icons, like the wings pictured here, play off rather poetic associations, instead of just documenting the mechanics of what the organization does.
Throughout both websites, we see a number of smooth, metallic textures and tones, accentuated by serif display fonts and tight, sans-serif areas. Additionally, the imagery used employs dense, saturated color palettes that help achieve a cinematic, and somewhat other-worldly tone.
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