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IXD103 – Monzo Case Study

As Monzo is the bank I am taking the most inspiration from I decide to research them further and create a case study to gain more knowledge on how they became so successful in such a short period of time.

first logo 2015

Mondo logomark was introduced 2015 then navy introduced 2017 before name change.

Monzo was launched in 2015 by CEO Tom Bloomfield with a team he had met at Starling Bank. Originally the brand name was Mondo started with a black and white wordmark but due to being ‘legally challenged’  by a company with a similar name and the business had to make a change. It was then that they took to their customers, in a chance to prove their commitment to transparency, and asked for help in coming up with a new name.

We have set three rules to narrow down our search:

  1. The name should start with the letter “M” (we really love our logo!)
  2. The name should represent us and work across different languages and cultures
  3. It can’t be Banky McBankface

Ideas from the community

The name Monzo was suggested by a number of members from the Monzo community and in return received custom hoodies and the first 6 cards to be printed with the new name in 2017.

The business wanted to convey this idea of ‘effortless banking that feels like magic’ and with the arrival of the marketing and design team, they began working on creating a more dynamic and polished identity. In an interview in October 2017, with one of the TeamMonzo designers Sam, she was asked how they translated “banking that feels like magic” into a new visual identity?

“Magic is intelligent and beautiful and the brand identity is a reflection of these values. At Mondo’s core lie a series of tensions: human/technology, effortless/complex, trustworthy/delightful. I developed the new Mondo mark as an expression of these tensions. It aims to be strong, confident and trustworthy whilst remaining colourful, friendly and human.”

Circles form an integral part of this brand identity, can you tell us more about these?

“The app is designed around data so I wanted to find a way of expressing this visually in a beautiful way. The dots are data points that flow through the branding; wherever possible they will be brought to life. Mondo distils huge amounts of complex data into meaningful and effortless insights and updates. I wanted to show Mondo at the heart of your life with data flowing around you in a magical way.”

At the start of 2019 Monzo design team released a new logo design consisting of a white wordmark on a navy background which received some harsh criticism. One customer commented

“The fun exciting bank with vibrant colours is now dull, drab and boring like all the other traditional banks👌🏼👍🏼 well done guys you’ve become what you set out to avoid. Slow clap.” 

While others said;

“Wow, that really makes the brand stand out.. Not!”

“This is disappointing the old one was better 😔

“Boring, bland and safe.”

The only positive comment I saw under there new logo post was;

“They haven’t changed anything. Look at the monzo wordmark on your cards, it’s the same. And they will be keeping hot coral for sure as pantone have announced it colour of the year for 2019.”

New app icons released for Monzo plus when the new logomark was initially released. These also reflect the levels of plans that are available, Coral for basic, blue for plus and white for premium.

Most recently last year, Monzo reverted back to using the dynamic logomark of the M, that has had many versions in support of different social movements.

Pride Month and Black History Month

Have these decisions worked in Monzo’s favour? Well in 2019 and international research and analytics group, YouGov, surveyed over 1,500 people in the UK on brands they’d recommend to friends and family with Monzo coming out on top by miles.

Just 3 years after forming, Monzo  gained unicorn status by surpassing a £1 billion valuation in 2018.

The telegraph published and article where they said;

“Fast-growing challenger bank Monzo has raised £85m from US venture capital investors to hit a landmark valuation of over £1bn, making it the latest UK tech start-up to pass the “unicorn” milestone”

How did a 4-year old bank accomplish this milestone? One factor is the bright coral design of the bank cards. They’re eye-catching and bold, whether you love it or hate it, this was something that sparked word of mouth about the brand in its early days. This rings true for me too as I one day saw my friend with a bank card id never seen before, the bright coral, and I had to ask where he got it and signed up myself. Another reason is their main core value: transparency. The brand was founded on the bases ‘to make money work for everyone.’ The do this by making legal jargon easy for the layman to understand and even admit when things don’t go right and this has built up trust between the business and its users. This leads onto the third and fourth point of the brand community they created and the tone of voice they use. Monzo has a mostly informal, conversational tone of voice even using emoji’s where possible and in doing this, they speak in the language that their customers are using, do so across all of their communications, which builds trust in the same way that transparency does. The customers feel a sense of connection with the brand and with the Monzo Community Forum, the employees and customers have real engagements on a person to person level rather than corporate to customer. Their online presence is also helpful in engaging thoughts on changes within the app or design with their customer base, with even having the new name voted by the community. The brand community has worked for Monzo because the customer gets to have a genuine input and even power over how the product works, its design and what they want out of the brand.


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