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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Looking beyond launch

Jeremy Keith regarding Clearleft’s upcoming rebrand:

I think it’s good to remember that this is the web. I keep telling myself that we’re not unveiling something carved in stone. Even after the launch we can keep making the site better. In fact, if we wait until everything is perfect before we launch, we’ll probably never launch at all.

This is precisely what we thought when we redid Condron Media’s site this week. It is no where near complete. It works. It works on all screen sizes. And it was enough to get started. We plan on releasing new content, updates to the messaging, and even new page layouts each week for many weeks.

Attending Cropped! a rebranding competition

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Last night I attended an event created by AAF NEPA to help a non-profit organization rebrand. The idea was simple; create a few teams of branding professionals from local agencies and have them compete to create the best ideas and solutions to rebranding a local non-profit company.

I’ll leave the details of the competition to the event page itself. But I thought I’d take a second to discuss how rebrands are about problem solving and how this event demonstrated that perfectly.

Branding is an exercise in getting a company’s culture, message, and purpose demonstrated and communicated through every single thing the company does. I know it has been said a million times but it worth reiterating that branding is not a logo. Branding permeates a company’s activities from the way they answer the phone to how easy it is to unsubscribe to their monthly email newsletters. I was happy to see that everyone at Cropped! knew exactly what branding was.

Rebranding, on the other hand, is about solving problems. When a company decides it needs to rebrand itself there are generally reasons for doing so. Perhaps the overall aesthetic of the company feels dated or, as was the case with the EOTC (the non-profit that was part of this competition), the company’s purpose was being mis-communicated through it’s brand messaging.

This is when the company’s honesty about itself really needs to shine. What do people really think we are? How do they feel when they interact with our products or services or employees? Why do they think that? Why do they feel that? And so on.

I thought it was excellent that the competition began immediately by acknowledging the weaknesses of the EOTC’s current brand and laid them all out in front of the contestants so that they could begin to break them down and work through them one-by-one. That’s when the solutions to these issues became clearer and clearer. Certain colors were off-limits, specific branding icons weren’t to be used. This helps the teams to avoid the same traps that the previous EOTC brand team (if there was one) fell into.

Overall it was a cool event in a cool space and well worth getting out in the cold windy evening for. The THINK Center, where the event was held, was a great space in downtown Wilkes-Barre. If you have a chance to attend an event here it is worth checking it out for the gear alone.

On rebranding

Over on our company blog we published our recipe for rebranding a company. Here’s a snippet on how our outsider view is an advantage:

Our suggestions and feedback come with no internal bias, no politics, no fear of losing our jobs, and certainly no fear of sounding stupid. We’re experts at dumb ideas. Out of dumb ideas come fruitful discussions, fun tangents, and exhausting possibilities.

If you need that sorta thing, reach out.

Instagram’s new look

Ian Spalter, Head of Design at Instagram, on Medium:

The evolution of the community has been inspiring, and we hope that we’ve captured some of the life, creativity, and optimism people bring to Instagram every day. Our hope is that people will see this app icon as a new creative spark — something to have fun with and make their own. We’re excited for where this will take us.

The knee-jerk critiques were flying all over the place yesterday; both online and off. Obviously Ian and his team have had a lot more time with this new icon, and app design, than we have and we should allow it some time to sink in before forming any firm convictions.

My first reaction was that I loved the app design (though I feel some of its personality has been stripped like most iOS 7+ apps) and that the icon will need more time to settle in.

The one piece of context all of us on the outside are missing is what Instagram’s vision for the future is. They likely have an idea for where they’d like their community, application(s), and platform to be in the next 3 to 5 years and I’m sure this re-branding exercise plays into that. So give Instagram a year or so and then see how this new icon sits.

Either way, well done to the team at Instagram for putting something out in the world.