The Companion

Brand Strategy, Identity & Website

The Narrative is a digital production company and entertainment studio based in London. They are experts in community, content and commercialisation on new and emerging channels. 


The Narrative commissioned The Design Laboratory - their long-time design partners - to bring their latest vision to life: to elevate the conversation around film and TV, to create a platform that brings the Science-Fiction community together and to give them the quality journalism they deserve.


The outcome was the highest quality product for loyal Science-Fiction fans in the form of a Subscription Publisher: The Companion.


The Companion is an online platform that offers new perspectives, in-depth articles, podcasts and artwork from Science-Fiction authors, journalists, cast and crew on films and shows within this genre.

Brand Identity, Digital

In this project, we worked with the client since the inception of the idea, helping them with the business and brand strategy, followed by the creation of a brand identity, online platform and communication materials.


To start with the project we conducted a series of workshops where we extracted valuable information and insights that would help us develop the brand strategy. We looked into the industry background and pain points, as well as the audience and offering. After this, we established the vision, the purpose and the values. With all this information we defined the tone of voice: to echo quality, cinematic and premium.


Once the brand strategy was defined, we worked on a few concepts that will set the tone for the brand identity. “The Glitch” is the concept we developed into the brand identity. It tells the story of editorial transition between traditional print and digital while giving a feeling of suspense, anticipation like something is going to come.

The Design Laboratory created a set of functional icons with a mix of round and sharp edges that suits the brand. The simple, clean and minimal look of these icons allows for them to be used without distracting from brand content on the platform.


To identify when an icon has been selected, we created a glitch effect which is achieved by using the secondary colours of the brand. The resulting effect echoes a well-known glitch found and seen within the moving image.


The Companion is an online platform where paying members get access to exclusive content like in-depth articles, podcasts and artwork around Science-Fiction.


The Design Laboratory designed the look and feel of the website and app, and put rules in place around the usage of typography, colours, images and other brand elements like separation lines, glitched images and icons. The platform also gives the user the option to choose between light and dark mode for better readability.


The project was launched on Kickstarter so Science-Fiction fans could pledge to help The Narrative bring this project to life. Backers had an array of membership options that came along with many rewards including pins, posters, challenge coin, app icons and more.

The challenge coins were traditionally given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. Following this concept, The Design Laboratory developed The Companion Coins which were designed following the style used on the brand icons. These coins represent the pack fans pledged for: Chairman of Creative Council, Creative Council, Writing Masterclass, Merchandise, Shoutout, Kickstarter Supporter, Early Bird, Original Art Print, and One Year, Two Years or Lifetime Membership.

We also created a new feature that allows fans to change The Companion default icon on their iPhone, iPad, and Android depending on the pack they pledged for. These include Founding Member, Early Bird and Kickstarter Supporter.


“Working with Yann, Boris and the team at The Design Laboratory has been a great experience for us at The Narrative. From the passion and enthusiasm to get involved beyond surface-level design, to the dedicated professionalism and high spec delivery, we always felt like we were in great hands.


On three occasions now we have come to The Design Laboratory with unique asks that go beyond a simple design brief. The fact they took the time to understand our product, culture and business meant it became a very collaborative process. Their process was clear and thorough, not to mention competitively priced especially when you consider the level of experienced design talent (CSM fellows & lecturers) - you don’t get much more experienced than that!

They felt like an extension of our team, offering support over and above expectations with quick responses and leaning into new design-related issues. A huge part of our business especially at launch when the design vision is so important.”

Nick Hayward