Rwanda and Zurich – The start-up, which pairs tech-savvy African entrepreneurs with Swiss expertise, is drawing on its dual heritage to communicate its cross-cultural partnership. With the ultimate aim of promoting innovation in Rwanda through mentorship, experience and networking, Oku’s branding features local references from the African nation, while avoiding design cliches.
To do this, the company worked with graphic design studio DutchScot, which took inspiration from the geometric shapes and earthy colours of the Rwandan art form imigongo. In this way, the branding strays from the generic visuals commonly used in technology brands. ‘We wanted to draw inspiration from Rwanda but in a contemporary way,’ explains Oku in conversation with LS:N Global. ‘We plumbed for a bold typography solution, creating a bridge in the logo and then a suite of patterns that spoke to the various facets of the business in a personable way, all this combined with an earthy palette.’
Elsewhere, we’ve explored the ways that African lifestyle platform Dola is similarly preserving the continent’s heritage through a contemporary, youthful lens.
When entering cross-cultural partnerships, brands from the Global North must avoid tired narratives around elevating the Global South, and instead work towards more equal collaborations