Rebranding’s a bitch. Here’s why you need to do it.

One of the things we occasionally have to do here at natie is follow our own advice.

We have to take what we usually advise clients to do with their brand and apply the same approach to ours.

It’s challenging – a little like the physician who has himself as a patient. When we’re evaluating a brand, it helps to have some objectivity, which we definitely don’t have with ours. At the same time, it’s valuable to be able to see things from our clients’ point of view.

So we’ve just evolved our brand. The changes we’ve made aren’t necessarily anything you’d notice – not consciously, anyway. And that’s OK. We did it because it had to be done – for us. Because we’ve changed slightly. (More on that later). The slight modifications across the board definitely make a difference and push the impression our brand makes in a slightly different direction. Even after over 20 years in branding, I’m still amazed at the difference just a small change in typography or colors can make.

Have you ever seen a little kid driving a car? Their impression of steering is to turn the wheel as far as it will go in either direction. But then they learn how to drive and they realize the lightest touch can send you off in a new direction. That’s kind of what rebranding can be like. Small shifts can make a big difference. A deft touch is essential to making sure that who you are on the inside and the personality you present to the world outside are seamlessly aligned. And it’s hugely important that as you evolve as a company, your brand does, too. Even if the process is laborsome, tiresome, and a royal pain in the a**.

Time to Grow Up again. At Least a Little…

When we rebranded natie a few years back, we took a quantum leap away from where our brand originally was. Still the same personality, but we became bolder. A bit brasher, whilst always nice about it. No one in Israel had our experience or was offering what we could. We were serious but we were having a blast, too. And our last rebrand captured all that with bright colors. Big, bold letterforms that felt like a typographic bear hug. And a tone that was equal parts craft and joy.

But times have changed. There’s more competition now. And we’re in a different place. We’ve proven ourselves. We’re much more seasoned. We’ve got a lot of wide-ranging experience under our belt. We’ve had the honor of working with some very successful, very high-level clients. The Jewish Agency for Israel. Asserson Law Firm. The Israel Infrastructure Fund. Kryon. AllSeated. And a few noteworthy others. These are serious and sophisticated companies with high expectations. We’re sitting at the grown-ups table now, that’s for sure. So frankly, it was time to comb our hair a bit. It was time for our brand to catch up to us – again.

But the key question is always, how do you do that while still staying true to who you are – while still staying the same at heart?

The purpose of this piece is to show you. Not because I love talking about us so much (none of us here do), but in the hopes that this can be helpful for you in evaluating your own brand. In making sure it’s who you are right now and that your company or personal brand isn’t like a wardrobe you’ve outgrown.

 

Cue the before-and-afters

Typography

Future Bold font was, well…bold. And that was the idea a few years ago. But Proxima Nova is a bit more refined. Softer spoken and easier to read. It’s trying a little less hard and speaking with more understated confidence. And it was always one of our secondary fonts anyway; we’ve just made it more prominent now. We didn’t have to go far to take a big stride. Here’s a page from our website for a client brand case study.

Before: Future Bold

 

After: Proxima Nova

 

Logo

Next to our airy new font, our logo suddenly felt heavy and plodding. But we love our logo and knew we wanted to keep it. So we just lightened it up a bit. It’s a subtle change with a big impact. Look at how slightly slimming the letterforms and increasing the negative space around them makes it look a little more refined without losing its basic character. It’s like our logo lost its baby fat. God is in the details.

 

Before: Robust and bold

 

 

After: Finer

 

Visual Assets

Next, we took a look at some of our visual assets. Color has always been an important part of our brand. And while we wanted to retain the vibrancy and attention-demanding aspects of our color choices, we felt we could tone them down just a bit. And make things less busy, in general. There no longer seemed to be a need to raise our voice visually. So in addition to selecting colors with a bit more maturity (that does not mean boring!), we also loved the idea of using more dramatic black and white. Here’s what our natie homepage used to look like and what it looks like now.

 

Before: Vibrant colors, making a splash.

 

 

After: More understated; more black and white

 

Presentations, Stationery, Etc.

We did the same with our presentations, our stationery, our business cards and some other things. By now, I don’t have to repeat myself; you know the rationale. But I’m including this for one important reason: to demonstrate that when you evolve your brand, you have to consider everything. Consistency is so vital in branding. You have to look at every touch point, right down to how you answer the phone. (In fact, I now answer the phone in an extra deep “mature” voice. Kidding.) Here’s a simple before and after of an opening page for one of our presentations.

 

Before: Bright and graphic

 

After: Subtle, toned down

 

Graphic elements

Since we’re shouting less and adopting a somewhat less busy approach, we also took a design element we’ve had for years across all our materials – a pattern of triangles – and lost them altogether. We simply didn’t feel the need for them anymore. We’ve been refining and trimming across the board and it felt right and lined up to who were are. So bye-bye triangles from presentations, social media banners, and in this example, from a case study deck.

 

Before: Screened-back triangles

 

After: No extras

 

And there you have it.

A slightly more mature brand for a slightly more mature branding agency. It’s hard work, and let’s be honest, occasionally tedious to undertake a brand evolution (just take a look at the natie site) but when you really nail it, it can be such a competitive advantage for your company. We hope walking you through ours can help you evaluate your own a little more clearly and see the possibilities before you.

And of course, if you ever need some help with that…

Peace, Eitan