A New RadPad
Renting has always been a stressful experience.
Using popular yet anonymous websites leaves you vulnerable to scams, landlords are not encouraged to create high-quality listings, and checkbooks for paying rent are still prevalent (even though the rest of the world has moved on).
But we knew we could change that.
In October 2012 Tim, Jon, and I launched RadPad on the iPhone. For the first time, you could see high-quality photos and information about an apartment in an easy-to-read format. You could feel safer knowing that a human had verified that landlord isn’t a scammer. You could pay rent with a credit or debit card and never write a check again. That’s the kind of renting experience we believed everyone should have. And we’re not finished yet.
A Quick History Lesson
This is the logo we launched with just over 3 years ago. The pin is custom, but the wordmark is plain old Whitney (it wasn’t altered in any way). A number of months after launching, it became clear to us that the house pin wasn’t resonating in any significant way with people so we dropped it. The pin simply wasn’t strong enough to stand on its own.
This is the logo most people recognize as the face of RadPad. As of today, it’s the last time you’ll see it.
A startup is lot like a Pokémon. At first it’s very basic; raw talent, juvenile, and inexperienced. But as time goes on, you learn a little more, do a whole lot, and surround yourself with more of the right people. That’s when it becomes something much more powerful.
In late March, during a founder’s trip, Tim, Jon, and I started chatting about evolving RadPad. When we first built the iOS app, it was to help the three of us find great places to live. But it’s become so much more than that. And our aging logo isn’t reflecting that brand evolution well at all.
We asked friends to picture our logo in their heads, they couldn’t — all they remembered was yellow. Not good. It was obvious to us that the company had outgrown the original logo, and it was time to make a change.
We needed fresh eyes.
After several small brand-related projects with other designers we had exactly the person in mind. Someone we could trust with something so close to our hearts.
Meet Zack Davenport.
I’ve known Zack for a bit over a year. He has previously worked with us on a few small projects such as PadMan.
Zack jumped at the opportunity to help us take RadPad to the next level. We were willing to cut every brand asset we had, even our trademark yellow. It was all on the chopping block.
But before we could start we all needed to answer the most important question of all:
What is RadPad?
It seems like a silly question, but it’s important that the answer is the same for people who are using RadPad for the first time or the 12th time.
- It’s about a renting lifestyle.
- It’s “that-company-with-yellow-signs”.
- It’s there when you need it the most.
- It’s all the little details that go into our product.
- It’s part of that feeling you get when you see a place for the first time and fall in love with it.
How do you possibly begin condensing all that into a creative brief? This was the first real brand redesign that any of us had done, so where do we start?
RadPad as a Person
Zack helped us get ~30 words that described RadPad’s personality and together we narrowed them down to just 6 that rang most true.
We curated individual moodboards for each of these words, which we would then refine to just one final moodboard. Pinterest helped us keep track of who was adding images and the simple commenting system made it easy to offer thoughts on single images without having to spend a ton of time organizing things.
Throughout the process (which took place over the course of 5 months) we used everything from photos of sketches, Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch, and even iMessage. Sometimes an idea was too exciting to wait ‘til the morning.
We decided very quickly that we didn’t want something cliché or obvious. That meant no houses, locks, keys, doors, or anything that was a literal representation of renting. RadPad needed something more abstract and symbolic of our name. We did iteration upon iteration of multiple ideas. But one stuck in our minds out of the hundreds we’d seen.
It was bold and fun. It hit all of RadPad’s personality traits.
It just felt “right”.
For the wordmark, we wanted a sans-serif that was approachable and matched the personality traits we had outlined in the branding exercise. Larsseit (pronounced lar-SIGHT) has round, friendly letterforms that feel fresh and complement the spotlight perfectly. The typeface was customized with slanted ascenders/descenders to mimic the angles of the Spotlight, and the corners were rounded so it felt less rigid.
Together, they make a pretty great pair.
Larrseit is the new typeface that we’ll be rolling out on the web and in our marketing campaigns.
For the iOS and Android apps we went with system-native fonts San Francisco for iOS and Roboto for Android (at tiny sizes Larsseit doesn’t do well as an interface font on mobile devices).
After exploring the entire color wheel, yellow is still a primary color for RadPad. It is what defined us to most of our customers, and continues to make us stand out against the sea of blue and green you typically see for apartment apps. But instead of just yellow, we have introduced additional primary colors and a system of secondary colors that will be used across all our products consistently.
With the new logo comes a slew of updates to our iPhone app, Android app, and website that have been given fresh coats of paint. It’s actually more of a complete overhaul of some key products, some of which will be rolling out live over the next few weeks.
The updates will be live in the App Store and Play Store over the next several days, and our website has been updated with the new logo.
RadPad HQ a.k.a. “Padlantis”
Today marks an entirely new chapter for our company. We’re excited, anxious, inspired; the team has thrown themselves into this project, and I can say without hesitation that this is the most talented group of people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.
We cannot wait to show you what we’ve got up our sleeves next.
P.S. If you’re interested in how we design at RadPad, or have an awesome suggestion for how we could make RadPad better please shoot me an email or tweet me. I’d love to hear from you.
P.P.S. If you want to work with our kickass team, we’re hiring.