Who are you, and what have you done with our brand?

A few months ago we made the considerable decision to re-brand the company. After months of hearing ‘why does your logo look like it was created in PowerPoint?’ Well, it was :) and people accidentally calling us ‘Perspective Ideas’ or ‘Prospective Ideas’ (it was Perceptive… Perceptive Ideas) it was time for a change.

We’d been focused on growing the team and working hard for our diverse client set. Spending time on our own brand direction just hadn’t been a priority. And it should have been. Because a brand extends far beyond a logo or company name, to shape every interaction with clients and suppliers. It encompasses the company’s core values, and contributes to a cohesive direction for us, and a consistent experience for our clients.

Here you’ll see the first steps we’ve taken to develop our brand, starting with the company name and logo.

Eating our own dog food

In true customer-centric design style we treated this brand evolution as a research-driven project. As a team we engaged in a ‘discovery phase’ to understand the company’s strengths, mission, personality and goals.

The first workshop focused on the website content, and which areas to expand upon. We wanted to better communicate our core values and showcase our work in a style that better represented us and what we do.

The second workshop provided an opportunity to richly articulate our brand personality and what that meant for our company culture and clients.

We also interviewed our boss/‘client’ Katja, to understand her vision for the company. The company is Katja’s creation and her unique vision was key to revitalising the brand. She provided strategic insights that the previous two workshops did not, and these would mostly affect the website content and brand communications.

The outcome: we are contemporary, fast-moving and energetic

For us, ideas happen quickly and our communication style is friendly and approachable. Our brand is like an inquisitive leader who is current, empathetic, sharp and always delivers. We are specialists who tackle difficult jobs in innovative ways. We help clients understand their own customers so that they can provide the right solutions and services.

To begin translating these learnings into a digital brand we created mood boards, color palettes, chose typefaces and imagery to create a look and feel to represent us in the best possible way.

Empathy map and persona

An empathy map and persona were created for the brand/website. The website persona idea came from Alistair Somerville of Acuity Design. As strange as it seemed at first, it was an effective way to communicate the learnings from the research phase and guide the design process.

Time to design

What’s shown below is a small selection of the outputs created. Ideas were quickly sketched and were inspired by our research, the meaning of the words ‘perceptive ideas’ and the UX research and design methodologies we use. Some of the sketches didn’t have much meaning but it’s best to get all the ideas out and develop those with potential.

Sketches exploring brand traits

Visualising key words and brand traits

Initial logo exploration

Building on the sketches a variety of logos were created by working with the words ‘Perceptive Ideas’ and the initials ‘PI’ (as we frequently referred to ourselves as PI). The tools of choice for this phase were Sketch and Invision, together they created a streamlined workflow and were an excellent way to share themed storyboards with team mates.

Perceptive Ideas logo exploration

High definition logo explorations

Logo exploration for the letters PI

Discovering if PI would be recognisable enough

A new direction

After crafting many logos it was realised that the words ‘Perceptive Ideas’ were proving difficult to work with. It was challenging to create an aesthetically balanced logo. At the point of simplifying everything to create a more traditional styled logo, Katja decided to rename the company. As mentioned earlier, people struggled to say our name correctly and that wasn’t ideal.

So we became ‘syfte’ instead. Yes, this is potentially open to misspelling and poor pronunciation as well but it’s short, sharp and alludes to what we do in a smart way.

Why ‘syfte’?

Well, apart from sounding like ‘sift’ which we related to as UX researchers — sifting through data and findings to uncover the truth. The Swedish word ‘syfte’ means purpose, aim, idea, intent and design. It could also be interpreted as purposeful ideation and design which are all important aspects of what we do as UX designers.

New logo designs were created. There wasn’t time to explore as much as before so simple typographic solutions were created. Based on research, current logo design is trending towards minimal typographic solutions and from our workshops we defined that our brand is contemporary, so designing more simply felt justified.

The syfte logo taking shape

Some syfte logo explorations

The final syfte logo

And here’s what out logo evolved into

What’s next for syfte?

We’re now applying aspects of the brand internally and have a new website being developed. We’re also creating a series of design thinking workshops specifically aimed at children to encourage the next generation of designers to think and act in a human-centred way.