The measure of a good brand is what it can do. It’s a bit of cultural code that you can continually expand and execute in new context. Viral, but in a good way.
A long, long, long time ago (six months?) we decided it was time to rebrand Postlight. Our early identity had been made for a baby company unsure of its footing. At the same time we weren’t quite ready to have a three-day offsite with a large branding firm to talk about our core values. So we pulled Will Denton into a meeting room. Will was then a new designer here, unsullied by our peccadilloes and preferences.
Will, we said, you’re a new designer here, unsullied by our peccadilloes and preferences. How would you like to take on the impossible task of rebranding the company where you work every day? Keep in mind that we’re a platform and product shop, not a branding shop, which means we have all the opinions of a branding shop but none of the respect for the process.
Will, to his inestimable credit, continued to meet our gaze. “I will,” he said. Or maybe he was simply asserting his personhood in the face of having to serve as a one-person creative agency inside a firm with very strong opinions about everything: “I, Will.”
- It needed to feel familiar, as if we’d been around for a while.
- And extremely modern, because we’re a technology company.
- And you know, finished. But also incredibly flexible.
- Because we’re growing in every direction. But don’t want to identify those directions because we don’t want to limit ourselves.
- It truly needs to work on our website, across social. Maybe in Keynote decks. But also PDFs, statements of work, MSWord docs, Google Docs, spreadsheet headers, invoices, business cards, marketing brochures, posters, short books, motion graphics, videos. Oh, and in-house events. We might hold a mini-conference.
- Plus holiday cards.
- Since we’re going to be working with outside firms, it should be easy for a newcomer to apply the brand.
- And lots of animations?
- Don’t overthink it.
And that’s…exactly what we got, with great credit to Will and the Postlight design team. We are grateful! And we promise never to make you do this again.
—Paul (take it away, Will…)
We wanted to reflect the fact that Postlight has grown up. We’re a young company but many of our client relationships go back a decade or more. It was time to stop pretending that “ad hoc” was okay, and button up. And this is where we ended up—
Brand ≠ Logo
The way we got there was by thinking ground up about what the brand of this place means. A rebrand is of course much deeper than just a logo. We sought to align all aspects of our business to a singular, unchanging idea. This helpful diagram will explain that:
People’s Perception of Us Drives Meaning — and Action!
The way we got there was by doing a Google Design Sprint, which I strongly recommend if you need to get busy, opinionated executives to sit down and think through where their company is going. Ultimately the brand can only reflect the culture of our organization—the founder’s values, the culture of the different teams (engineering, design, and product management) and the larger network in which our company operates. The brand has to reflect that, so it’s good to take time to get it right, nail down those values, and think hard about where those values are going.
Our name is meant to stick in the minds of our peers, clients, and prospects. To hell with little icons. We don’t need to hide the name. We needed to look focused — but be flexible too. Thus we landed on the overline. Or the “dash,” or “eyebrow.” A diacritical mark so simple it can be reappropriated for future applications—see below:
!Brand-splaining ahead! It is an accent yes, but it serves as a beacon. A reminder to ourselves what is post light. What is just beyond the technological horizon and how we can harness it to serve our brand promise.
Are we there yet?
We soft-launched our new site and look-and-feel before the holidays. So are we done? Of course not! It’s a perpetual process. We ship ideas, test assumptions and iterate on insights. It’s quite on-brand to ship our identity like we ship our products.
It’s a journey. We appreciate any feedback, and we invite you to come along with us as we mature and evolve!