This year, Metabridge turned 8 years old. No longer a fledgling organization, our team agreed that the current Metabridge identity didn’t properly reflect where our brand was at, or where it was going.
To reach the next level of our business strategy, Metabridge engaged GOODSIR to help us unearth our brand, and design the future of Metabridge’s visual identity.
In the following guest post, GOODSIR's Managing Partner Brad Marshall describes how the project evolved.
TAKING BRAND SERIOUSLY
These days I find myself in a lot of boardrooms helping businesses better understand their brands. I get a lot of satisfaction out of it. Seeing people get inspired and have one of those “ah-ha!” moments. I love that.
But getting companies to take their brand seriously isn’t always easy. The tech industry is no exception. It’s been our experience that when we ask technology start-ups about the importance of brand to their organizations, most dismiss it.
“when we ask technology start-ups about the importance
of brand to their organizations, most dismiss it”
However, when we ask those same start-ups about developing unique user-experiences, or building a solid reputation amongst their user-base, they’ll say those things are critical. But here’s the rub: both those efforts need brand clarity.
When we started chatting with Metabridge late in 2015, I was relieved to hear the leadership team was interested in branding. Yes, they needed a refreshed visual identity, but they also understood that we couldn’t properly design what Metabridge was, without first knowing who they were.
ESTABLISHING THE BRAND
GOODSIR’s Brand Experience Workshop is a fun half-day workshop that gets stakeholders talking about brand in a productive way. It’s an important conversation that many organizations fail to have before specific design solutions are determined. A lot of businesses just jump straight into the visual stuff. And frankly, a lot of agencies do the same. Not discussing brand early can cause all kinds of problems down the road.
We use a visual selection strategy to help uncover ideas and shared-beliefs about a company’s brand. Businesses seem to respond positively to this process. When we asked Sehra Bremner, Metabridge’s Executive Director, for feedback on our workshop, she said, “It was great! I don’t believe organizations in general spend enough time thinking about this kind of thing.”
“It was great! I don’t believe organizations in general
spend enough time thinking about this kind of thing.”
In just a few days we helped Metabridge extract and put into writing the vision they had in their heads. We developed a shared-language that expressed the emotional experience of the brand, and what it strives to provide.
With the brand experience documented, we were able to begin working on a visual identity that better represented the future of the company and what it embodies.
TURNING THE BRAND VISUAL
This won’t be an exhaustive review of our process, but I did want to shed some light on the steps we took.
We started the visual identity process by looking at the old mark -- what it got right, and what it got wrong.
We liked that it was unique and literally reflected the idea of making connections. But the execution had some hiccups. The light lines and letter-tracking didn’t work well at smaller sizes, and the font felt off. For an organization wanting to provide a more exclusive experience, the all-lowercase wordmark was too youthful.
Overall the logo was a bit complex. It needed to be refined. Metabridge is a leading Canadian technology conference, and it requires a well thought-out identity system to match.
CRAFTING A MARK
GOODSIR’s design team hit the ground running, and prepared a variety of logos for review.
Considerable thought was put into each concept. Our logos focused on things like the use of simple shapes and flexible colour palettes.
After a couple of rounds, the stakeholders narrowed in on a direction they preferred.
The new logo was inspired by the notion of starting a conversation. After all, sparking conversations is what Metabridge is all about.
“The new logo was inspired by the notion of starting a conversation. After all, sparking conversations is what Metabridge is all about.”
Digging a little bit further into our thinking, the single-path M was influenced by twists and turns (“pivots”) that startups often go through.
The font for METABRIDGE was selected for a few reasons; the roundness counterbalanced the sharper “speech-bubble,” the curves matched the stylized M, and it also helped give the wordmark a more friendly/approachable vibe.
In addition to the logo, the visual identity was extended through colour palettes, and type options...
We’re looking forward to working with the Metabridge team, thinking of creative ways that the brand can be voiced, and how the visual language can be strategically added upon. This website we developed will evolve over time too.
Overall, it’s been a fun project to work on, and we can’t wait to attend Metabridge 2016 this year!
Post By: Brad Marshall
For over a decade Brad has been having fun helping businesses conceptualize, design & develop brands and creative campaigns. His company GOODSIR works with small start-ups and hard-working entrepreneurs, as well as internationally recognized brands like Best Buy Canada, The JUNO Awards, and Alliance Films. If you’d like to start a conversation with him about branding, he'd love to hear from you.