The Branding Process
Tyler Galpin, RadPad Creative Director, Jonathan Eppers, RadPad CEO, and I started off with a couple of conversations that familiarized me with the current challenges and strengths of RadPad’s branding.
I learned that Radpad’s users didn’t feel connected to the brand. The current wordmark, set in Whitney, wasn’t typeset and RadPad’s iconic yellow color didn’t work well on white backgrounds. Furthermore, RadPad’s current map pin didn’t feel ownable.
Tyler and Jonathan were planning to rollout bold changes to their product, shifting their focus from long-term to short-term rental. They needed a logo that aligned with their product changes and rejuvenated the brand.
I asked Tyler and Jonathan to name characteristics the new RadPad brand should communicate. They came up with six key personality traits they wanted the brand to embody:
1) The new brand should be fun 2) The brand should be cool 3) The brand should be friendly 4) The brand should be trustworthy 5) The brand should be innovative 6) The brand should be appealing to Generation Y.
From there, I started researching and creating individual Pinterest boards for each personality trait. These images would be used to later determine a moodboard.
I compiled the research into a keynote and presented them to Tyler and Jonathan. We walked through each board and had conversations about what we liked or didn’t like about each image.
It turned out to be a great way to get feedback as I took quick and rough notes to integrate their opinions. Some of the feedback was, “I like the juxtaposition between the wordmark and logomark”, or “I like the friendliness but don’t think it’s the right direction”.
Through a process of elimination, we were able to condense our findings into a final moodboard. This moodboard was meant to visually represent the six personality traits and would be used as a guide moving forward.
Once we settled on a moodboard, I began sketching early concepts in my notebook and then in Illustrator to quickly iterate. These explorations were rough and sketchy and I tried to explore as many options as possible.
Over the course of several months, we ended up exploring over 100 marks.
Some of the marks were house-related and very literal. Others were more abstract. Many of these marks were variations of the ‘R’ or ‘RP’ monogram.
While simultaneously exploring options for the logomark, we were also answering questions about the wordmark. One of the first questions was whether the logo should be uppercase, lowercase, or sentence case.
For the more promising marks, we began exploring early brand systems that would go with them. What if we had a iconography system of unique doorways that could be placed next to each other in a neighborhood pattern? Or, What if it was all about one door— the door— to your next apartment? Or, What if the logo grew and shrank in size, similar to room layouts?
Like all ideas, some worked and others didn’t. I got feedback from Tyler and Jonathan that they didn’t want anything too literal or house-related. I agreed and continued to explore more abstract marks until we eventually landed on one that we all seemed interested in.
This iteration was a capital ‘R’ nested within a container shape. The outside edge was lopsided, creating a unique form that looked both like a badge and a source of light. We weren’t completely satisfied with the form yet and wanted to push the shape further. From there, I began to iterate on the container shape making slight adjustments to the corner radii and angles.
It felt bold and seemed to touch each of the personality traits. We called it the Spotlight.
Satisfied with the direction, I began to tidy up my work. For the Spotlight, I rounded the corners of the ‘R’ and tweaked the radius of the container shape corners. I shifted the ‘R’s leg to match the angle of a line that connected the top left and bottom left corners of the container shape.
We also began to look at how the form fit within the app icon.
For the wordmark, I rounded the corners of the letterforms to match the corner radius of the Spotlight’s corners. Then, I cut the tops off of the ‘d’ and ‘p’ ascenders and descenders to match the angle of the Spotlight.
All these adjustments were meant to make the wordmark and logomark feel harmonized, more unique, and personalized.
RadPad had always been known for their iconic yellow but didn’t have a complementary color system. We were pretty sure we wanted to keep the yellow color, but we also wanted to explore other options.
We liked the top right system the most however, Tyler and Jonathan wanted to explore more options for the secondary purple color.
IV. Finalizing the System
Now that we had a logo that we all liked, it was time to finalize the brand system. The next step was finding a font, finalizing the color system, and introducing the brand into their product.
We wanted RadPad to have a friendly and inviting personality so we investigated a wide range of font families that embodied those characteristics. We eventually landed on the Larsseit (pronounced Lar-Sight) family for RadPad’s marketing and branding. We decided to keep the standard fonts (SF UI and Roboto) for the iOS and Android apps.
Headlines: Set in Larsseit Bold, sentence case, in RP Navy. RP Yellow used as a highlight color when needed.
Body Copy: Set in Larsseit Light in black with 50% opacity. Call outs can be made using Larsseit Bold.
Callouts: Special text, like quotes, can be called out using Larsseit Regular.
We ended up keeping the iconic yellow color and expanding the system to include secondary colors. These colors would be used for illustration and marketing material.
Final App Icons
You can see the brand system in motion (literally) on their website.
As you can see, no rebrand is complete without a fresh coat of paint in the office!
Rebranding a company is always a huge undertaking. It takes a lot of self assessment and bold decisions to truly pull it off. To add to that challenge, we were working remotely cross-country. Despite these challenges, Tyler and Jonathan were the easiest clients I’ve worked with and they made the entire process seamless and fun.
For RadPad, this rebrand is just the beginning. I’m so excited to see what 2016 has in store as the company continues to innovate the way we find apartments.
Edited by my wife Emily