Creating or updating a SaaS company’s brand identity may be the most challenging task a design team can take on. Yet, since software delivery moved to the cloud, many of us in the design community spend most of our time creating or refining brand systems. Often for applications that do everything from the mundane, like reminding you to feed your dog, to the highly specialized, like nurturing customers through the sales funnel.
One of the difficulties of creating a brand system for any application is how to depict the product in a way a potential customer can immediately understand. Very often, a SaaS product does something the consumer didn’t know could be done, like collaborative work management (CWM).
Even if you know what CWM is, what’s the shared visual language a designer can use to convey the product’s usefulness? While a car manufacturer or clothing retailer can fall back on a universally understood visual and verbal lexicon, portraying a SaaS product in a concise and compelling way requires a designer to spin up a visual system that their audience will be able to comprehend. Beyond the act of conveying meaning and value, how does a designer make the brand enticing on a visual and emotional level? What kind of feeling or mood should its visual identity generate? What color best expresses collaboration?
If you’ve ever embarked on a brand refresh or a full-on rebrand, one of the first things you recognize is that such an endeavor requires more than an artistic vision; it requires you to conceptualize a new way of portraying and explaining that which has never been adequately expressed before. More succinctly, you need to think the brand into existence.
A journey to the center of the brand
The process of giving shape and a voice to the Wrike brand had begun before my arrival in 2017. When I started, we did have some of the brand architecture in place with some rules around the basics, like color and logo usage. Missing was an overarching visual system followed by the entire organization that matched the breadth and intricacies of the brand. To correct this, we embarked on a six-month thought-exercise. The result, a reimagined Wrike.
The Wrike brand refresh design work began by examining the brand in its entirety, sort of a visceral, verbal, and visual audit. What the assessment exposed was that we needed to start thinking of our brand holistically, that is, how will it operate across all channels. Then we had to determine how to align the overarching brand with our values.
Moving through the process, we decided that the brand needed to achieve specific business objectives.
It needed to be:
Truly global Attractive to the enterprise and hypergrowth organization Applicable to inbound and outbound marketing Educational/informative Able to convert
Once our priorities were locked, we set up a collaborative, iterative, creative process. As we had tight timelines and many moving parts for this project, feedback and approvals needed to be fast. The handoff of assets needed to be seamless, and version control was essential. Fortunately, the management of these complex workflows was smooth because we use the leading collaborative work management platform for creatives.
Design is simple. That’s why it’s complicated.
The next phase of thinking focused on design principles. Whether it’s yourContinue reading