Creating a new language for action-adventure

Motive Studios
Digital Design, Environmental Graphics, Identity, Messaging, Type Design, Wayfinding & Signage


When Electronic Arts (EA) decided to enter the action-adventure market with Motive—a new gaming studio based in Montreal—it approached Frontier to design a brand to capture its vision. The action-adventure genre pushes the boundaries of video games. At its heart is a complexity and mystery that invites players to not only to complete levels or tasks, but also to think and explore beyond the obvious. We began by developing a brand position, speaking with key stakeholders at EA, especially industry-legend founder Jade Raymond.

Purposeful Tools

It became clear that Motive needed a brand that could hit a dynamic range—in some cases expressing its curious and thoughtful personality and in other cases adopting a quiet tone in support of a big-name property like Star Wars Battlefront. To accomplish this, Frontier designed a custom typeface called Motive Code that became a critical dynamic element. It established both the visual tone and the building blocks for a new logo, as well as unique patterns and an iconographic style that’s infinitely scalable.

Relentless Discovery

Once established, our strategy became the foundation for an ongoing design partnership that captured a spirit of mystery and adventure that was uniquely Motive. We developed core principles to bring depth and detail to the company mission, designed environmental graphics that helped disseminate those principles throughout the organization at multiple office and pop-up locations, and created playful, interactive activations to reach new audiences and attract new talent.

Building a Brand Language

Motive’s visual identity is inspired by what makes the action-adventure genre so inventive and engaging—a spirit of mystery, adventure, curiosity, and discovery. Frontier designed a brand language based on codes, symbols, puzzles, and a playfully cryptic tone. We then developed a set of detailed tools and guidelines, along with best-practices applications, to help Motive bring the brand to life.

Expressing Motive’s Purpose

Through both digital and environmental design applications, Frontier designed engaging ways for Motive’s purpose to connect with its teams as well as reach its core audiences. In some cases, a clear and bold approach helped deliver key messages with immediacy. In other cases, as with its presence at the Montreal International Gaming Summit (MIGS), we designed a mobile game that challenged new recruits to discover core Motive principles for a chance to win prizes or even interview to join the team.

Thoughtfully Expanding the System

Motive’s growth to new offices across Canada presented exciting opportunities to expand the brand with a location-specific strategy and visual toolkit. Our goal became to help its teams feel deeply connected to Motive’s core identity while encouraging local ownership and creative expression. To accomplish this, we extended the brand language to represent a collection of abstract landmarks from the two primary office locations, Montreal and Vancouver.