We decided to rebrand our studio. Here’s why.
Versett started as a simple idea: to create something we’re proud of. There was no end vision, no dreamy punchline to let nostalgia seep in. We just wanted to create something different. Undefined, yes, but I can’t think of a better common goal to have among a group of people.
When we first developed our identity back in 2011, the main goal was to look bigger than we actually were. Every aspect down to the company name was designed to provoke a sense of scale (“Versett” is a word made up by Doug. He’ll make sure I say that). We explored logo concepts that were simple, flexible, and strong. We were a small crew with big intentions:
“We saw a growing importance for mobile technology and a shift in the value of back to front-end design, so we decided to focus on just that — great user experiences; the kind of stuff that gets used and gets talked about.”
––Excerpt from Versett launch announcement, 2012
The identity we ended up with made sense for us. It was simple, professional, and trustworthy––and most importantly, it was a mark that we all stood behind. Over the years, though, we navigated Versett through a number of pivotal transitions.
2012–– Versett is a full-service mobile agency that specializes in original app development, augmented reality, and integrated marketing campaigns.
2013–– Versett is a technology-driven design agency that builds products for mobile, tablet, and web.
2014–– Versett is a strategic design agency that builds award-winning brands, digital experiences, and interactive products.
Today–– Versett is a product design and engineering studio.
For the most part, these all say the same thing. The problem was that over the course of this four year period, Versett outgrew these descriptions and we needed a brand that was more representative of who we had become.
Simplifying Our Rebrand
Step 1: Define Why
Despite how long it took us to get to this point, we needed to move rather quickly as there were an increasing number of eyeballs on our brand. We had become a more focused company with more focused resources. At the time we decided to revisit our identity, we were expanding into the New York market 🗽, planting our flag on some Fortune 500 vendor lists 🏢, and staffing up with some super talented people 👫. We were at a pivotal point in our company’s history.
In the end we needed to unify the team around a common company vision, and create a solid foundation for future growth. With so many new people on board, we needed something for them to take ownership of.
Step 2: Find Your Personality
Before we could design what the new Versett would look like, we needed to define what Versett was, and currently is. We began by running a session with the entire team, asking everyone to write down key characteristics within 3 categories: What was Versett, what is Versett, and what should Versett be in the future 🔮. It was interesting to see that team members who had only been with us for a few weeks, and those who had been with us for years, had similar perspectives nearly across the board. We grouped and merged these items into a what we felt was most representative of Versett’s life cycle. Here are the results from that session:
From here we focused our discussions on the future column and what characteristics were most important to us. Here’s what shook out:
This was the groundwork we needed to continue moving forward with our rebrand, but it also created additional work––we needed to transform this list into achievable line items in order to get our team pacing towards that future state. This is where Versett Camp was born. Be sure to read more on our first team retreat in Doug van Spronsen’s post here.
Step 3: Develop Your Identity
Defining Versett’s future state was essential because it created a formal list of characteristics that needed to shine through in the identity. Obviously not all of them would be helpful (How does ‘Equip Clients’ translate into design?), but it was great because it gave us a home base to always go back to––at the end of the day, were we communicating our goals? The key characteristics we decided to focus on were being nimble, innovative, and diverse.
Once the actual design phase began, a ton of additional questions surfaced: Was there an icon that best represented us? Did we even need an icon, or was a simple wordmark enough? Was the ‘V’ crucial to our brand? Was there anything from our current identity that we wanted to keep?
Here’s a sample of initial explorations that were made:
When we began this process, we truly didn’t think any of us felt an attachment to the old brand, but exploration proved us wrong. The more directions we entertained, the more crucial we saw the ‘V’ was to our identity. And the more we played with the ‘V’, the more we realized how vital its compadres to the right were. We decided to make our rebrand an evolutionary one 🐵––👱.
It’s not easy to create something fresh and innovative while bridging the past. We looked at questions beyond general aesthetic, like how could we make it live and breathe? As always, the idea that broke things open was a simple one: What if you could type it? I mean, really, what could be more ‘nimble’ or ‘diverse’ than the ability to create our logo on any device with a keyboard? V// was born .
We explored hundreds of iterations of these characters, associated colour palettes, and type pairings in search of the simplest and most versatile. Here’s where we landed.
While you’re at it, see how our rebrand extends into digital by checking out our shiny new website. 👋