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BRIGHTER*IR recently refreshed the website and identity of Northland Capital Partners Ltd (Northland), a full-service investment bank focused on growth companies and institutional investors, with a particular specialism in the AIM market

Snow capped mountains panorama

Clear thinking, straight talking

Based in the heart of the City, Northland is a full-service investment bank focused on growth companies and institutional investors. Northland also enjoys nominated adviser (NOMAD) status for over 30 AIM-quoted small and midcap companies, alongside core services of equity research, sales and broking and corporate finance.

Evolution of brand identity

Before work began on the development of Northland’s digital presence, we were keen to explore ways the logo could be modernised without losing the elements that made it recognisable. We’ll start with a side-by-side look between old and new to offer a direct comparison.

Previous logo:

Northland old logo

New logo:

Northland new logo

The changes are slight, but effective. We removed the shadow cast by the globe to ‘flatten’ the image, and we also reworked the latitude and longitude lines that define the shape of the globe, which helps to bring the motif in to become a central part of the overall design.

We also felt that the kerning (or the space between each letter) was too wide, and so we updated the typeface to reduce this while giving the text greater weight and prominence. Finally, we dropped the uppercase treatment to the sub-text and changed the colour to provide additional separation, with the end result being greater focus on the Northland name.

Responsive website design and development

Northland’s previous website (screenshot opposite) was developed a number of years ago and had become dated in multiple ways.

Text was rendered using Cufon font replacement, a now defunct standard with a number of inherent issues, and the general look and feel was developed at a time before smartphone usage became mainstream. This left today’s audiences with a less than optimum experience on desktop or mobile devices.

In addition, the website was supported by what is now an old version of the WordPress content management system and following some supplier changes it was effectively unsupported.

We selected to use the latest version of WordPress for their new website for a number of reasons. Its out-of-the-box nature helped to keep costs manageable, and there were added benefits when it came to importing archived content into the new framework too.

However, Northland were also keen to retain the ability to update and manage future content edits in-house, and their familiarity with the general WordPress interface made it the obvious technology choice to support the new website.

Screenshot of Northland's previous website home page

“The team at Brighter IR were knowledgeable and enthusiastic throughout the process, helping to make the most of our budget while delivering our new website to coincide with the move to new offices.”

Patrick Claridge, CEO Northland

Robust framework of requirements

Following a series of meetings and discussions to agree the primary aims of the project, we created wireframe mockups of key pages and content areas as a first stage of the design process. You can see the wireframe mockup and the final result side by side below.

Wireframe mockup of the new Home page:

Northland home page moqup

To their new responsive website:

Screenshot of new Northland website

As well as being responsive to cater for mobile audiences, we identified key content areas that would benefit from enhanced functionality, primarily improving the way ‘transaction tombstones’ were created and displayed throughout the site.

The new Transactions section features “infinite scrolling”, automatically loading and displaying rows of historical tombstones as the user scrolls down the page.

It also includes the ability to filter by date, transaction type or role, with all content displayed as live text to enhance search engine optimisation, an instant improvement compared to the previous image-based tombstones that were not being indexed by search engines.

We also automated a running total of all completed transactions within the previous 12 months to highlight Northland’s performance, and created a feed of recent transactions that automatically pulls through onto the Home page whenever new content is added.

Northland transactions

We continue to host and support Northland’s new website and the end result is a website that is easy to read and navigate across user devices, while remaining straightforward to update and manage in house. The new transactions functionality provides a clearer representation of Northland’s recent client activity and experience, and the updated logo is already being used across a variety of online and offline media and signage.