Although it wasn’t actually our intention to give the brand a refresh, we’re always learning and iterating. That goes for our core product, our pitch, the way we describe Reframed and, in some cases, even our use of specific words. A good brand does not a good startup make, but a clear unified brand message certainly helps.
Recently it became apparent that our messaging needed simplifying. We’d made the mistake of skipping to the details before explaining the big picture concept. The “bubble of understanding” affects us all in some way.
I love collaboration and I believe the right combination of talent finds better, more considered solutions. That’s why I’m grateful to be in a team that also works well in this way. When it comes to our logo and the extending brand, it’s been very much a collaborative process, firstly with my co-founder Kev, and on this latest iteration with the very talented Isaac Lara Martin, our Web Designer.
Before we look at the new stuff, let’s look at the original ideas behind the first logo.
Where it began
Let’s start with the name. This is yet another thing on the very long list of things we have to thank Paul Smith for. Kev and I have a history of creating company names that are not only mispronounced, but are also often mis-spelled. Quite a talent.
The morning of the logo design I had mentioned to Kev that I wanted this brand to be grown up and sophisticated, so God only knows why my next move was to start playing around with cartoon hands. But I liked the idea of using a thumb and forefingers to outline a frame around something and that’s where it started.
Please note: These are all very rough sketches, not finished ideas. I tend to design straight in a design program, rather than on paper.
I asked Kev what he thought about the concept of using hands – he reminded me of our conversation about my vision for the brand. Oh yeah – so I started to simplify the hands which quickly became arrows. As the link with the hands became less apparent, the ‘TV’ element was brought in.
Of course TVs don’t look like that anymore! Great visual metaphor (if you’re not a millennial); terrible way to make your product look cutting edge. So the TV bit was removed and with some pixel by pixel tweaking of the letters and line widths, it became something a bit more familiar.
However, we then needed to create something that worked as an icon, something that would work on a small scale and, in most cases, be mostly square. So the words were replaced by the ‘play’ symbol.
So why the change?
A funny thing happens with a brand in the wild, you slowly learn all the contexts in which it doesn’t work. In some small sizes the thin lines that made our logo feel elegant, got lost and very few people noticed our lovingly created arrows.
There was disconnect between the icon and logo, did people connect the two – my money would be on no.
Of course, a brand is more than a logo. As we have got better at explaining Reframed, our pitch decks and marketing materials have evolved. As we’ve simplified the messages, we’ve also simplified our visual approach.
We got to a point where the logo felt… wrong. And if something feels wrong it’s time for a change.
On to the new
Isaac and I have been discussing the logo and working with the shortfalls of the previous elements for some time. During a re-design of our pitch deck I had increased the width the arrows for use in process diagrams, and Isaac picked up this element and ran with it.
And as Isaac puts it: “The previous icon didn’t feel dynamic, the angle gives the impression of movement.”
All in all, a half day on our brand is not a bad investment in how we are perceived – and it’s the first step in new, simpler messaging.
Let us know what you think.