Last year, Lowercase Capital — a billion-dollar venture capital fund founded by Chris Sacca — reached out to Postlight with a challenge. Lowercase had expanded to invest in climate solutions, from insect-based cow feed to cold fusion reactors, through a new sister company, Lowercarbon Capital. They needed a website to broadcast Lowercarbon’s mission and showcase its growing portfolio of investments in startups working to fight climate change.
The brand needed to be techy, future-facing, and congruent alongside Lowercase’s deliberately folksy branding. We needed to not only build a lean, efficient publishing platform, but also expand and recontextualize an established brand in a way that set Lowercarbon up as an authority in the climate solution investment space. The final result features refreshed, bold branding that builds upon Lowercase’s charm while establishing a distinct identity. We applied the new design system across a multifunctional digital platform that serves as portfolio, blog, public Q&A, and even a jobs board.
We started this engagement by sitting down with our stakeholders and unpacking their goals and pain points. One of my old managers liked to tell me, “You’re not just a product designer, you’re a design therapist.” As we unpacked the tension between Lowercarbon’s cutting-edge ambitions and Lowercase’s homespun attitude, we realized that merely creating an attractive site wouldn’t cut it.
In collaboration with Lowercarbon, we built the brand’s visual identity from the ground up, workshopping different brand voices through moodboards, style tiles, and prototypes. After lots of back and forth, we settled on a design that was clean and structured, with a charming, professional nerdiness underneath. Since Lowercarbon’s portfolio was full of young startups, some with a limited budget for photography or branding, we leaned heavily on bold typography, pattern, and layout choices to create a distinct visual system without relying on flashy assets.
It was also important that we didn’t shy away from the trailblazing attitude and underdog spirit inherent in the kinds of companies that say things like, “Hey, what if we used remote-powered drones to literally explode methane in abandoned coal mines to offset emissions?”
“By keeping the design system simple, economical, and punchy, we turned potential pain points (limited budget, few resources) into core components of Lowercarbon’s charm.”
Finally, we applied this system to several concurrent tracks within the Lowercase organization: a diverse portfolio of carbon-cutting companies, a climate manifesto from Chris Sacca himself, and community engagement through a jobs board and a bespoke Q&A micro app. We worked closely with our partners at Lowercarbon to make sure that their unique voice came through clearly.
Venture capital can feel like a pretty sterile, dispassionate endeavor. Lowercarbon takes a different approach with a bold, unconventional design that gives it the tools to spread its message and champion companies on the front line of the climate change battle. Take a look at our work and let us know how we did.