From the Trenches: How IdeaRocket Approached Its Brand UpdateWilliam Gadea 08.01.2017
A brand is like an organism – it is never static, always changing. Nevertheless, there are times when you make a conscious, concerted effort to affect the creature. That’s what we have been doing with our brand identity over the last year and a half here at IdeaRocket.
The process began when we contracted Squat New York to redesign our site and visual identity. The old site loaded slowly and was heavy on animation. It was fun, but at this stage of our maturity we were looking for something with a little more gravitas. Here is the old site:
You can see the new site, because you’re on it right now! It is less heavy on the orange, and more heavy on the gray. The illustrations are more geometric and less hand-drawn, and we use more photographic images, all desaturated to black and white. The overall effect is more spare and minimalist. I think this current look is truer to the classical modernism that has always been at the heart of the brand. (The rocket, after all, is a mid-century modernist fetish object.)
The Logo and Visual Style
Squat also created a slight modification of the logo, that has a similar effect. It is just a tad less playful and more austere and elegant.
For typefaces, we chose Raleway (a Google font designed by Matt McInerney) in its various incarnations.
By keeping the orange and gray and the most important elements of the logo, I think we maintained the brand equity we had built up while also updating it, so it doesn’t go stale.
The Brand Concept
Of course, the website and visual identity are just the clothes and make-up that the brand wears. The heart of the brand is what it represents. To figure out what that was, we started with an all-hands staff meeting.
What is it that made us a different from other studios? What do we excel at? What really excites us as a challenge? We came up with a number of answers to those questions, and all contained some truth of how we saw ourselves. It was important to me that this should be an inclusive process, not a top-down one.
We pruned these answers to just four concepts, wrote them up into brief statements, and we did two things to test them.
First, we used these concepts as text in Adwords ads. This let us see how the concepts resonated with a broad universe of prospects (using that term loosely) that was in the several thousands, in terms of impressions.
And we also created a Google forms survey and sent it to our employees, freelancers, friends, and past clients. We asked everyone to rate the four concepts on a 1-10 scale based on how well the concept described us, and how much they would want to do business with a company like that. That way we were able to find out whether the concept was true and resonant.
The winner, by quite a bit, was Untangling Complexity. The vast majority of people agreed that the exceptional thing about us is that we are really good at taking complicated concepts and making them accessible and understandable by the many. You can see this concept expressed in the index page of our site, but we still have a way to go to propagate this concept through all our collateral. We definitely want to make another promotional video for ourselves, that makes this point about us more clearly.
Our rebranding is an ongoing project. The biggest part of it, of course, is living the brand. Because a brand is not just how your represent yourself; it is being what you represent to each and every client, each and every day.