Koto juices up the branding for checkout platform Bolt

“You don’t need to be bland to feel trustworthy,” says creative director Arthur Foliard of the brand’s new fluoro-coloured identity

Founded in 2014, checkout platform Bolt offers one-click payments for over 300 retailers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in a time of ever-increasing convenience, the company has raised millions of dollars in investment, taking it to the level of a ‘decacorn’ – that’s a startup with a value of $10b+, for readers outside the world of venture capital.

The tech company brought Koto in to overhaul its visual identity and create something that could grab attention in a competitive landscape of “somewhat bland sans-serif wordmarks”, according to Koto creative director Arthur Foliard.

“There was a huge and unprecedented opportunity to stand out from the crowd and to bring more personality into a pretty expected space,” he tells CR. “There’s a reason behind it. Most of these brands want to look secure, but you don’t need to be bland to feel trustworthy. By prioritising feeling safe they all feel the same.”

Koto leaned into a literal interpretation of the company’s name, expressing its “energy, speed and acceleration” with a highlighter yellow palette and a lightning bolt motif that appears across the branding. It’s ‘hidden’ between the L and the T of the wordmark, used at large sizes in motion graphics, and echoed in the jagged shapes of exclamation marks, forward slashes and percentage symbols.

Even the tail of the @ sign includes a spiky edge, thanks to a bespoke typeface by PangramPangram. In total, says Foliard, there’s 15 electrified glyphs, chosen as the characters users would see most often.

Design Twitter has already had a few lively conversations about the branding, which shares some similiarities with work created for live sports app Buzzer and sports broadcaster Volt TV, as well as broadband and mobile service Volt. “It’s pretty simple and direct, that’s why it works,” says Foliard.