Hitting Refresh: Branding a Scaling Startup

Jake Janosik
Jun 10 · 4 min read
NBA All-Star Stephen Curry sporting the SnapTravel logo in press conference after #NBAFinals2019 Game 4

How we got here

When a tech startup starts carving its path in the travel industry, a logo and brand aren’t top of mind. The focus is on building fast and getting the business off the ground. This was the first few years of SnapTravel. We were a startup built around the idea that booking travel should be as easy as chatting with a trusted friend. In the past few months as we’ve grown the team and garnered significant industry recognition, the need to better define who we are became apparent.

We needed a brand that was forward-thinking and modern — something that represented both the product and the people that work on it. We did not rebrand as a design exercise; we created an updated brand because the current one wasn’t accurately representing us anymore.

Re-imaging the brand

The original logo was overworked. The logo was trying to do a lot for us — it was a chat-enabled, speedy suitcase. It lacked the character of SnapTravel and didn’t accurately convey our place in the travel industry. Applying messaging & Natural Language Processing technology to travel is novel; using a suitcase to depict that concept is decidedly not.

To narrow this problem, we decided to focus on how to communicate what we believe SnapTravel stands for. A few glaring holes stood out at that point — namely the complexity that came through in our branded assets: the logo, the loud wordmark, the lack of modern touch. It was clear that this would have to change for us to be taken seriously as a technology company innovating in travel.

Jake (top), Jenn (left) & Savana (right)—SnapTravel team members rocking the new logo on our office balcony!

The second gap was how to represent ourselves as a conversational brand–helping people find the perfect hotel though chat. In the past, we had employed icons and shapes that were representational but very generic. If we were going to create an enduring brand, we had to take a unique stance. These two prompts got the wheels turning for the team to begin brainstorming directions. Words like “happy” and “conversational” came up as themes, followed by sketches of how we might represent that visually.

We created more logos than we could imagine. The best went through multiple rounds of changes, inching towards a brand that we would all be proud to stand behind. The final logo had to distinguish us on our not just our site, but all of the places where our unique travel messaging experience lives. Would our brand hold up on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and all of the travel sites we partner with? When we could sleep through the night confident that we had chosen the right logo, and it was voted upon unanimously by our entire team, that’s when we knew we had gotten it right.

Bringing it to life

So what were the significant, groundbreaking changes? For one, we changed our wordmark to lowercase. We have a longer name and need to make sure it’s inviting and legible. By using a simple font and lowercase, we give a welcoming touch, while still keeping things modern.

“SnapTravel has driven over $100MM in sales with our customers coming from over 150 countries to date. This refresh reflects who we are and what our brand represents. It enables us to resonate with a global audience as we grow aggressively towards $1 Billion+.”

— Hussein Fazal, CEO, SnapTravel.

We also made minor adjustments to our trademark orange. Bringing in darker tones to our signature colour transformed it to a quieter, friendlier shade of orange. Adding a secondary palette of blues and teal worked towards giving the brand more depth and variety.

The final result is a brand that does the talking (not the screaming). Taking a straightforward approach to our use of type, colours and iconography will support our goals in establishing a trusted travel brand. We’re not compromising on design to create a statement, in the same way that our customers don’t have to give up quality for a great hotel deal.

Jake Janosik

Written by

Product Design Lead @Snaptravel


Content from the SnapTravel team. We are the leaders in conversational commerce, letting you book Hotel deals over SMS or Facebook Messenger - as easy as messaging a friend!

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