Recently Pixelshrink undertook a subtle brand refresh, to modernise the look and feel and appeal more to our target audience.
We’ve designed brand identities and logos for many of our clients, but it was time to turn our attentions to our own. Here, we revisit the journey we took to go from the old branding to the new one and take you through each stage.
The brief for our brand refresh: simplify and focus
We didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as we’ve built up much brand recognition and goodwill over the years. We wanted to keep the main elements of the logo, but simplify and focus it.
Firstly, the name needed to be clarified. ‘Digital Impact’ was added to work on two levels. We’re increasing impact for all of our customers, but specifically addressing the academic meaning of research impact for universities and their research projects. For them, ‘Impact’ means how they make a difference to people’s lives via their research.
Brand archetypes help you define your brand’s personality
Having trouble putting your finger on why you find a particular brand engaging? Brand archetypes are a way of categorising brands via their personality. There are twelve brand archetypes, all referring to universal patterns of behaviour that we all relate to. It really helps to think about how you want your customers to see you. This can then filter into every part of your branding.
Here at Pixelshrink Digital Impact, we’re firmly in the Sage archetype – so we’re all about knowledge. We want to understand the world, and communicate it in an accessible way – we’re your impact gurus!
Other Sage brands include universities, National Geographic, Ted Talks and the BBC.
Customer personas help you focus on your ideal customer
Branding is all about resonating with your target audience. So if you’re doing a brand refresh, it’s worth doing some thinking about who your ideal customer would be if they walked through the door now. A customer persona or buyer persona is your description of that ideal customer. Armed with this insight, you can talk directly to their needs, and their pain points. You can provide the services that they require, or didn’t even know they needed.
We’re Sages who want to work with other Sages. We’re thinking of a Professor at a University, who isn’t the stereotype of stuffy and aloof academia. Like us, they love translating complex ideas into plain English, but they’re not keen on jargon. They can see the bigger picture immediately and are approachable and witty.
Seeing beyond the current branding
Now we know who we want to work with and the tone we’re going for, we can start to flesh out our new branding.
As the original logo had been there from the start, it was initially quite difficult to see beyond it. It was like a comfortable pair of slippers! Taking part in Collaborative Future’s scheme to allow small businesses to give work experience to young people, we let our intern loose on the logo. The different perspective helped spark the creative process. Inspired, we soon finalised the designs as an evolution of the existing logo.
Colour palette and font choices
Branding is all about consistency, so we needed to define the colours and fonts that we’ll always be using on everything we do. The more consistent our brand identity, the more instantly recognisable it will be. This vision for how the brand should be represented can then be developed into branding guidelines.
Out went the dated colour palette and in came an array of blue-greens. The lighter shades evoke growth, trust, openness and a connection to nature, and the darker ones expertise and assurance.
The shrinking pixels logo (denoting the progress of technology as screen pixels get smaller) is retained in flattened and simplified form.
We gave the font a tweak too, with Arimo making way for Stevie Sans, preserving the readable sans-serif and leaning more towards Grotesque, confident but not too strident. Also, Stevie Sans in its bolder versions works well for headings, without being too quirky (the previous website headings were in Bowlby One).
What is your branding trying to express?
Put it all together, and these stages you can follow to refresh your brand give you a coherent look and feel which speaks to the organisations you want to target.
In our case, we’re trying to express that we don’t think access to knowledge should be restricted to a lucky few. We aim to achieve this via our three I’s of Engagement. In addition, we challenge our clients to get clear on their target audience, and if that includes the general public, make sure it’s as accessible as possible. Using clear language helps with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) too so it’s a win-win!
What do you think of our brand refresh?
Now that we’ve rolled it out to all platforms, we’d love to hear what you think of our shiny new branding.