Branding explained: X for Pixpro
Pixpro is a Swedish company based in Stockholm with a strong technology, sales and marketing background delivering marketing automation and creating custom portal solutions for their clients. The company has recently undergone big changes and has begun new — and quite successful — international partnerships.
Today Pixpro is one of the leading companies with expertise in management consulting based on lifecycle marketing; the kind that truly transforms businesses.
More than scratching the company’s head
A new company signature usually represents more than a simple cosmetic change. Companies like Medium and Google have changed their logotypes. Everybody had something to say about their new look.
However if one were to study the design process behind any given redesign, it becomes increasingly obvious that a new logotype is actually a visual representation of the inner workings and changes inside a company, inclusive of policy and structural changes.
We met with Sarah Watz, CEO and founder of Pixpro, via Skype on an exceedingly warm morning in May. During our meeting, she expressed her wish to give the company a completely fresh and relevant look. She felt that the old logotype and identity were not representative of Pixpro as their clients have come to know it.
Funny fact: psychologists say that when a woman cuts her hair or changes her hairstyle, she is up to something new (emotionally affecting her) and that her change of style is only a small part of a bigger decisions. So, pretending the logotype is the “hair” of a company, we asked Sarah to tell us why she felt that her company needed a new haircut!
She explained to us that Pixpro has recently undergone big changes and has embarked on a series of new — and quite successful — international partnerships. Further, the time of our contact coincided with moving into new offices, a move that she saw as a great opportunity to announce Pixpro’s evolution.
Let’s talk about brand
By addressing incisive questions (inspired by Marty Neumeier’s checkpoints) and eliciting insightful answers, we helped Sarah and her team redefine the company mission, vision thus shape a new tagline: “We transform businesses”.
Together we gained a better understanding of the Pixpro brand so as to make it easier to define which elements of the old logotype we should keep and which ones needed a lifting.
During our meetings, the most common words were “Reliable”, “Uplifting”, “Empowering”. It was obvious to us that the old and enervated Pixpro logotype was not manifesting the qualities inherent in any of these adjectives. It also looked a bit outdated for a company that claims to be at the cutting edge of digital trends.
X for Pixpro
We always listen carefully to what our clients say. We never jump to conclusions. But we read between the lines and we try to give a meaning to any words the client uses, even the half-said ones.
Surprisingly, our meeting revealed more than we were ready to guess, especially when Sarah said something really important about the way her team works: “In our work we always look for the X factor that makes our client’s business unique”.
Honestly we couldn’t believe that we had a great visual solution right under our nose! It simply cannot be a coincidence that the logo has a X in the middle of the word, so why not emphasize it?
First we redesigned the Pixpro logotype using a custom typeface. The new font is thick and heavy, but we kept the slanted direction of the old logotype to suggest movement and action.
Finally we tweaked the letter X, making it larger than the others, rendering it a symbol of progress and regeneration.
The enlarged X symbol is also the new Pixpro brandmark that can be placed next to the logo or as an avatar (i.e. in social media like Facebook and Twitter) where the full logo would be too lengthy.
Different but still the same
One main concern Sarah expressed was how to achieve change yet maintain Pixpro’s ”sameness”, so as to infuse rejuvenate the brand yet keep the recognizable look-feel, a valuable asset.
Furthermore she expressly wanted to keep the main brand colours, yellow and black, but together conveyed that Pixpro secondary colour palette needed a review. We tweaked the yellow, rendering it warmer and friendlier. The black became a dark gray colour that would better support the new palette.
We added red and cyan to complement the mix and give a brighter and vibrant look to the brand. Even though the palette was really limited (only 3 basic colours plus black and gray), we ourselves were stunned by how creative we became using it.
We felt a bit like Mondrian when we designed Pixpro a set of icons. Following specific rules, we created a simple, straightforward and charming language that the Pixpro team could use in all their communication materials.
We also defined Pixpro typefaces to create a more consistent and congruous identity.
Texta Narrow, designed by Daniel Hernández Sánchez & Miguel Hernández Montoya, was chosen for professionally developed online and offline materials designed such as websites, brochures, marketing collateral, advertising and products.
However, many Pixpro applications are created in a digital environment and shared by internal and external users. These users will not always have fonts such Texta Narrow on their computer systems, so we posited Works Sans, designed by Wei Huang, as valid substitute in cases where Texta Narrow could not be applied.
For body copy and general text content, we opted for Roboto Slab, a Google Web font designed by Christian Robertson.
Immersive brand experience
Right from the start, Sarah wanted to highlight Pixpro’s change as something visible and tangible to her clients, while simultaneously infusing some positive energy into her hard-working team. So our work was extended to the new Pixpro office.
Surprising as it may seem even this part of the work was done remotely. We confess that it was extremely challenging. Thanks to a video of the office kindly shot by a team member and Sarah, we identified select spots that we could use as a canvas for our expressive and vivid illustrations.
We created illustrations dedicated to Pixpro’s development department, Pixpro Lab, and some fancy ones for the hall, kitchen and client meeting room.
We also created a set of posters called “Office Personalities” to whimsically illustrate stereotype personalities that we feel are essential to a team.
Last not least
After defining the new logotype, we focused on how Pixpro will communicate its revamped identity via the colours, typography, graphics and illustrations that we designed for them.
Ergo the detailed brand manual. An indispensable tool for the team for building consistent offline and online communication materials.
Using simple and clear guidelines, we ensured that Pixpro’s identity will always be strategic and distinctive.
Today, the new Pixpro identity works across diverse audiences and cultures to attract and retain customers, but also communicates Pixpro’s unique value proposition.