Open Listings is an online real estate brokerage allowing buyers to search, make appointments, and bid for housing on their computers, disrupting the real estate industry as we know it. We first learned about the startup last year in the summer of 2017 after co-founder Peter Sugihara reached out to use Centra No.1. Our good friend and talented designer Justin Sloane designed the branding for the company, whose clean, simple, and sophisticated layout is a perfect backdrop for a humanist sans serif like Centra No.1.
According to Monica Kogler, Open Listing's design director, as they reimagined their visual identity, their brand purpose was defined around enabling the next generation to become homeowners. This meant building a brand and experience that brought the process of buying a home into the 21st century, making it simple, affordable and approachable like Amazon or Airbnb. On the one hand, it was important to them to embody that "feel-good" sensation of being at home – comfort, ease, warmth, approachability, stability. On the other, they wanted to embody the cool, savvy friend that you go to for advice on big decisions; to inject some soul, progressiveness, intelligence, even eccentricity into their brand system to balance rather than obscure the gravity of buying a home.
The team at Open Listings felt like Centra No. 1 uniquely represented all of their needs. Originally, they used Avenir, which was affable but felt too ubiquitous and generic. When considering moving to Brown, it felt friendly but too young and unbranded. They tested TT Norms, with proportions that felt too classic and neutral and too at odds with their futuristic ambitions. Alternatively, Centra No. 1 represented to Open Listings the flexibility, personality, and freshness that they were looking for. The vertical sheers and triangle in the lowercase “t” are distinct but friendly characteristics that largely informed their final selection of the "OL" logomark. Buying a home is inherently information-dense, so Centra No.1 gave them the opportunity to make the text engaging, and also allowed them to be more playful with scale, particularly with the heavier weights.