How To Rebrand?
A brand never sleeps….
As business owners, we should constantly be reviewing our branding. And we’re not talking just logos and fonts.
Branding encompasses a wider view of personalities such as your values, tone of voice and your story.
That’s why in May 2022 we had a full brand refresh.
It was one of the best things we’ve done as an agency.
I interviewed Curtis & Thom, the masterminds behind the rebrand to delve deeper into the process.
1. Tell us a little more about yourself and your role in the Seen Agency rebrand.
I’m Curtis, a graphic designer from the south coast, now based in London.
I’m Thom, an artist from South London.
Together we collaborated with Ozzi from Seen Agency to develop a new visual identity.
2. When Ozzi first approached you with the idea of a rebrand, how did you feel about the current branding?
The original branding of Seen was a great starting point for us. There were a number of elements from the current branding that we wanted to develop from, and weave through our own rebrand, such as the bold typeface used for the Seen logo.
Our main aim was to inject a bit more personality into the brand, so that it became more representative of the Seen team and the work they create - friendly, approachable, and fun, whilst remaining highly professional.
3. What excited you about taking on the project?
We’ve been lucky enough to have collaborated with Ozzi on other projects in the past, and the results have always been great. So when the opportunity to rebrand Seen came about, we were very keen to be on board.
We’ve seen Seen (no pun intended) steadily grow over the last few years, so helping Ozzi take the project to the next level was something we were both really excited to do.
4. How did you start the rebranding process?
Our first step, as with any rebranding project, was to take a closer look at Seen and the current identity to understand exactly where we wanted to take it. This began with visual and contextual research, followed by some early design experiments and concept ideation. We wanted to find ways we could reimagine the Seen logotype to subtly introduce more character and personality.
We also began to delve into colour palettes to discover which colours would create a more human feeling for the brand.
5. Where did you look for inspiration?
We first looked at other top marketing agencies to understand how they communicate with the world. It’s always a good starting point to understand how the competition exists both online and in physical spaces.
We also looked at cultural organisations and charities to understand how their visual identities connected with people to make them feel welcome.
For design inspiration, we steer away from too much contemporary inspiration and tend to lean towards older design archives - not just graphic design - but also product design, art, architecture, fashion and music. From here we can begin to build a loose visual language from the collection of shapes, forms, feelings, words etc. that we have collected.
This external visual inspiration is the jumping off point, which is led by a central concept that we define. This way of working means that rather than trying to look or feel like work that other people have created, we begin to ask ourselves “how can we create work that represents an idea, feeling, or emotion?”
6. What key features about the rebrand represent Seen and its TOV?
For us, the core graphic ingredient that communicates the fun and open-mindedness of Seen are the beautiful and playful illustrations by our good friend Hugo Bilton. We studied with Hugo back at Winchester School of Art, and he’s continued to create amazing things since.
When we became hooked on the idea of adding illustrations to the visual language, Hugo was the perfect fit, so it was silly not to bring him in onboard for this project.
And the results speak for themselves.
7. We went through a few different phases and brand options. How easy was it to decide on a creative direction?
In design, it’s all about trial and error: testing, testing, and then testing again.
It’s a continual cycle of ideation - experimentation - creation. We knew that we wanted to build a warm and a characterful feeling for Seen, it was just a case of gradually building that persona over time.
It’s a lot about having the confidence to say “this one isn’t ready yet”, and continuing to develop what you already have. Iterations are your best friend (or sometimes your worst enemy).
Over time, you begin to build an intuition of when something is/isn't ready, and this is generally easier to sense when you’re working as a duo. So in a way, the decisions make themselves.
8. In general, when is it a good time to rebrand and why?
Once you’ve figured out what you're trying to achieve, your market, and have experienced some initial growth.
It’s important to first put down a solid foundation and understand exactly what you need before jumping into a rebrand. This usually comes from having a few years of experience of running the project. This experience is the best way to understand what your brand does/doesn't need. When you’ve got those initial building blocks in place, then you’re likely to be ready to build a brand that’s capable of scaling your project to the next level.
We hope finding out more about our process encourages you to do the same.
If it’s something you’ve been thinking about, let us know and we can point you in the direction of Curtis and Thom.
If you’d like to look at more incredible brand projects, check out Two Times Elliot. It’s the Agency where Curtis resides, and produces some beautiful work.