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Rebranding – The story behind the new Codewell look

May 8, 2018

A business is made up of many parts. Branding is one of the most crucial ones. There is an idea behind your business and the branding defines how that idea “looks” and how it is perceived by other people. As time passes, your idea gets improved, your business grows and your branding should follow that growth as well.

There is one tricky part, that being the inevitable changes that occur and seem frightening. The fact that people don’t always have positive reactions to them adds up to the point. So you should be careful and take your time to keep people excited about your brand, retain the elements they love, and still keep everything updated and trendy.

Why we decided to rebrand?

Although we love our previous logo and our old branding, we have grown and changed a lot in the last 7 years. Design trends have changed, we have matured and our customer base is expanding rapidly. So we decided it is time to refresh our brand so it would reflect our story better. We wanted our branding to say more about us, to show who we are so people can get to know us better.

It takes lots of courage to identify and learn from your mistakes. We took that step and we decided to dissect our old look in order to determine how to improve our branding. Here are the momentous issues we uncovered:

-Looking at our previous logo, we came to a conclusion that we need to amend it, since it wasn’t following the design trends and needed a new refreshing look. We wanted our new logo to elevate  us above the dull “sameness” out there in the world.

Logo changing process

-The fonts we used weren’t always consistent. We wanted to create a path that we will follow and also give the typography a high pitched voice in our story and make it a part of who we are.

-The shapes we used didn’t say much about us. We are sharp and bold and we needed every element of our new branding to represent that, including the shapes.

Elements of the previous Codewell brand

After we defined the problem, we instantly started working on a solution. Our new mission was creating a brand story that will connect us to our clients and the crowd.

The rebranding process

The branding process is always alive and never stops at any point. It is not something you can cross over your to-do list. But there are couple of steps you need to take when you initialize your look. The steps we took towards our new branding aren’t that different from what the other brands did. Our mission was to follow the standard branding methodology that hasn’t changed in the last 50 years, since it works perfectly. We separated the rebranding process in 3 phases:

1.Research and analysis

2.Visual identity

3.Launch and maintain

Research and analysis

Determined to make everything right, we decided to do a quite extensive research before we continue to the next step.

Firstly, we analysed our clients and the crowd. We compared how the clients see us versus how we wanted to be seen. This was a delicate process, since we are working with 100+ clients that are completely different and have different views on everything including brand. This was actually the birth of our website’s categories. If you visit our website www.codewell.is, you can notice that it is separated in 3 main categories: startups, businesses and talent seekers, all with a different look and feeling. The categories are a result of the user personas we created before.

Creating user personas is both art and science at the same time. It is an essential part in understanding your audience, and they can help you develop ideas that the particular profile will find interesting and attractive.

The second part of our research was analysis of competition.

To distinguish yourself from the crowd, you have to know and understand the crowd first. By analysing the competition, you can see the current trends and find a way to follow those trends, but carefully enough to make yourself stand out.

Visual identity

With the user personas in mind we moved to the next step - Visual identity.

Logo

Although branding is not just a logo, the logo is a crucial part in your image. It is the symbol that represents you. Since the designer of our previous logo, Vanja Shtrkova, understands our brand and did a great job before, we agreed to ask for her help again. And she delivered like we expected. She also explained her take on the task and the logo design process.

Logo comparison

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I started at the original concept that I had 7 years ago. Then I took the circle as a form and tried to compose the initials of CodeWell which are C and W. Google logo was the main inspiration back then. When Nino called me about the redesign I knew that I needed to simplify my initial design and make it more modern and minimalistic. The best part of the process was that I had the same emotions and excitement as I had when designing the first one. It was a pleasure :) 

Codewell brandbook

After defining our goals and strategy, we ended up with a notebook full of sketches and 100 different files. That’s where we established it is time to create a brandbook that we will blindly follow so that we stay true to our brand identity.

Part of our brandbook

Although we are against constraining a creative mind, we thought that we should create design guidelines in order to stay consistent and also help the non-designer members of the team understand and follow the brand goals.

Our brandbook consists of couple of key elements: logo, colors, typography and photography. The brandbook itself is quite simple, so it is understandable for everyone.

If we got you curious, you can download and check our brandbook here:

Codewell-brandbook

Website

With our new logo and brandbook finished, it was time for us to change the website. We are not talking about change of colors and logo, we are talking about burning everything to the ground, and building it up again.

The whole process of designing, creating content and developing lasted 4 months, and the process is still alive and upgoing.

We began with a revision of the research results. With the user personas in mind, we separated the website in 3 main parts: startups, businesses and talent seekers.

While it was challenging for us to follow the brand guidelines and design 3 pages with completely different styles, we took the time and carefully created content and design that we thought our user personas will relate too.

Since we love hearing our clients success stories, we also created a blog page where our clients can express themself and you can read and maybe identify with their incredible stories.

Another important part of the development of our new website was the feedback we got from our team members, and we are equally eager to hear your feedback too.

You can check our new website at: www.codewell.is.

Social media and print materials templates

Social media is not only a display for your business. It is a great communication tool where you can connect with your clients and audience. Accordingly, we wanted our social media post to convey the same message we defined at the beginning of the rebranding process, so we created mockups for our social media channels, that you can check on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/codewell.mk/, Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/codewell.is/,Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/codewellmk, LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/company/codewell/.

Since part of our promotion is often printed material, we have created couple of templates for this medium of communication as well.

Design of the new business cards

Photography

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? And we didn’t want to spend those words on stock photography. We want our clients to see us, to see our environment and relate to us. That’s where Elena Fidanska stepped in and did an amazing job by creating photographs that truly represent us and add up to our story. We loved her style and we decided to keep following the same style in the future.

Some of the photos Elena Fidanska took of the Codewell team

Launch and maintain

We know that launching the website is not the finishing line, and we are looking forward to the “life after launch” period by continuing to work and improve our brand.

We also find the users’ opinion important and we would love to hear your feedback. You can contact us on: https://codewell.is/contact.html

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