North Six

A global collective of producers, content creators and thinkers had created a constellation of companies using different names and visual identities. As competition grew, North Six needed a new way to holistically articulate who it was and what it did. Acknowledging all pieces were part of the same process, Combo helped North Six develop a new corporate organizational strategy that brought disparate companies together under one brand purpose. Combo created and rolled out a new design system and website that conveyed the cohesion of one brand but enough flexibility to speak to a diversity of capabilities.

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Unifying a Creative Network

Consolidating a Global Media Production Company

As the needs of today’s creative media landscape diversify, production companies have had to reevaluate their approaches for how to best serve clients. Client expectations increasingly include strategy and streamlining around various channels, from photoshoots to social media to runway and other in-person activations. North Six, a global collective of producers and content creators, had developed several service areas over its two decades in the industry to meet these needs. As it grew, however, its offerings had taken the shape of three different companies, each with a distinct structure and brand identity. Looking to the future, North Six considered corporate consolidation, and Combo was brought on board to help with strategy and rollout of the transition.

What the industry is experiencing is the client’s desire for a lot more, for a lot less, because they need more and more content.
Matt Miller, President and CEO of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers

Reconfiguring Corporate Architecture

The Combo strategy team took a deep dive into North Six operations, researching everything from billings to staffing structure. Strategists conducted 20-30 hours of stakeholder interviews to understand how the different entities were working together. The insight that emerged was that consolidation was the smartest way to clarify the brand and company to the market, increase efficiency internally and provide more value to the client. The corporate restructuring phase needed to reconfigure the autonomous entities into one overarching organization that still leveraged the expertise of specialized divisions.

Cohesive Brand Identity

The design team began work on a new brand identity that could be used to enable a single retail experience for clients on the North Six website. To achieve a global feel consistent with who North Six is, the visual system needed to showcase a large and varied portfolio of work at a glance. Combo designers created a visual framework that utilized a very straightforward typeface and was assembled to house North Six-produced images. They put together a brand palette with pops of color, and the resulting color system was used to organize offerings into five divisions: stills, motion, influencer marketing, public relations and experiences. This became the sitemap for web design.

Now, production companies are no longer solely competing with other production companies but with everyone in the ecosystem—brands, agencies, even some publishers—as many now offer production services in-house.

Website as Primary Touchpoint

The website was where the visual identity was most functional. The design team focused on ease of use, legibility and simple tools for visitors to customize their experience of the site. The overall layout was kept white to forefront the large body of work. Then, each discipline was assigned a color from the brand palette, and the corresponding colored dots indicated which services were included on a particular project. As the primary touchpoint for potential clients, the website allowed visitors to select their own journey through the North Six portfolio according to their own creative interests.

Creative minds are always in flux—and in response, North Six redesigned its digital platform.

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