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Behind-the-branding: the tricks of the trade

Normally, our blog is reserved for strategies, perspectives, and interviews about topics like Creative Automation. But here’s the thing, last week we presented our new brand and we feel pretty hyped about it. So we wanted to let you all in on how the magical relaunch started and what we are heading towards. So here it is, the road from concept to going live with our new website.

Rebranding? But why?

Back in 2018, Storyteq launched its first rebrand with the help of an external agency. The biggest part of that rebrand was the name change from Storymail to Storyteq. 

In case you didn’t know, Storymail’s core business was creating videos for mailings. Specifically in personalized videos with clients like Samsung and Van Gogh Museum. 

The unique selling points were more in trend with keywords like dynamic, connect, relevance, facilitate, video, and modular. As of today, we are leading the field of Creative Automation. With our cloud-based platform, we are helping global digital creative leaders and marketers in top global companies create, scale, and deliver thousands of versions from your premium videos, banners, and statics in minutes, from your templates.

It’s been two and a half years of fine-tuning our offering, improving our platform, and focusing on key audiences. We thought it was time to give ourselves a new facelift.

Now the part of rebranding

A brand is not a singular design element, font, color, illustration style, or icon. Rather, it’s a system of interconnected elements that represent how Storyteq looks, feels, and acts, and which combine to create a consistent, recognizable, and unified personality.

So as Storyteq kept growing, it became more than a natural need for the brand to grow along with it. 

This became especially apparent when the strategy and unique selling points no longer fit its initial purpose, from first being a startup to evolving into a scaleup that focuses on serving global enterprises like Heineken, Perfetti van Melle, and Yamaha to name a few. 

Also part of the transition, knowing when you grow out of your shell and show the world that you’re no longer a startup but a company that is leading and developing the field of Creative Automation, and above all, dares to drive it forward.

And that was the beginning of a new strategy with matching concepts.

Re-refresh(ing) the brand

First week at work, and here I am, as a rookie in the Creative Automation SaaS industry sitting with Lennard and Guido (the two co-founders of Storyteq) with a ‘bakkie pleur’ (a black coffee as they say in Amsterdam), hearing how they envisioned a “more of an enterprise SaaS look and feel”. We quickly found out that there is a lot of terminology, and that people constantly repeat it besides the fact that sometimes it means vague language, jargon and acronyms. 

So with all this in mind, we kicked off a strong brand audit to see what was working, what wasn’t, and what needed work better. 

We focused on five main pillars of our brand system:

  1. Tone of voice
  2. Product
  3. Color
  4. Typography 
  5. Images / Patterns

1. Tone of voice

Many ‘bakkies’ (Amsterdam dialect for: cup of coffee) later with Lennard and Guido sitting in the big conference meeting I showed them the research journey I travelled for my search on terminology, asking colleagues from the first hour what’s in their mind stands for Storyteq being an enterprise Saas.

In the end being “Bold’, ‘Multimarket’, ‘Fast’, ‘Forward’ and ‘Personal’ where the most used terms.

The mentality and professionality were already there, and now also the design needed to follow through.

Moodboard impression of the visual tone of voice we implemented.

2. Product

With eyes on the prize the first stop for the rebranding train is implementing the rebranding into a new website.

Website

Together with the marketing team we sat down for hours and hours drinking liters of coffee and beerstorming on the new flow for the website, to come up with a wireframe that would embrace the core values we stand for and showcase ourselves to better connect with the audiences we want to serve. 

Social media

The ultimate breeding ground to implement all visual decisions made for the website to already existing assets, like: ‘vacancy’ posts, blog related articles featured images,
e-books design and inspirational quotes.

Blog

Our blog is a part of Storyteq’s core identity. Even more than that, it’s an extension of it.

In the blog we tell about the perspectives, strategy, trends, community and news & updates in the world of Creative Automation.

Writing a blog needs to be artistic, in a way that you can talk about a subject that digs deep into the substance of the matter, where you can really lose yourself. I’m really happy that my marketing colleagues can tell stories that way. And that’s why it also needs really artistic visuals.So we decided to drop the classic enterprise stock images andinstead created handmade visuals that embrace the story and lift it in unique ways. Creativity is a very important component for us.

The look and feel of the blog is more like a homage toward the articles. So the viewer should see the visuals that attract the eye and their curiosity peaks to read an article full of useful nuggets of information.

After this the first phase of the rebranding will be a new logo, brand guide and other marketing collateral so we keep evolving consistently.

3. Color

When I entered the office in my first day at work, what striked me the most was the color palette. Storyteq’s logo is light blue and dark blue combined. But dark blue was nowhere to be found in the rest of our content, instead we used a whole pallet of eight primary colors and nine  secondary colors, in which most of them were midtones. 

I made a shift in color pallet by giving the dark blue the primary status. Main reason is that darkblue stands for: trust, dignity, intelligence, and professionality. By using more dark blue it will give Storyteq a more professional – and so the enterprise look and feel we work for. 

One of the rules in design is to create contrast, that’s why the dark  blue needed a counter color. A good contrast for this color is to look at the meaning of the dark blue and then think about it in the opposite way. Friendly, approachable, personal and accepting fitted these words. Right there, a secondary color was born: our very own salmon pink.

I didn’t let the light blue go but gave this the rate of secondary color, so now it wasn’t that prominent anymore.

Now the color palette has been reduced towards two primary colors and four secondaries.

Major win as it makes our brand stronger. 

4. Typography

When you look at the logo, and I mean look at it for at least more than three minutes, you will realize that the wordmark is quite hard. And that’s because the font that’s being used is quite sharp. 

The font is called Circular, a Sans Serif font that’s not bad but it’s in conflict with the figurative mark. The round borders used in the two triangles do not harmonize with the sharp edges of the wordmark.

Day in and day out I was looking for the font that would square the circle. Sitting behind my desk searching the entire internet, on my way driving home and  even in the supermarket when I had to wait in line. And that’s where I found the missing pieces in my quest. A font that is simple, friendly, straightforward, sensible but is also able to be bold, gallant and significant.  

The ideal choice was Causten Round. 

A font that looks like your normal Sans Serif, but doesn’t let you be fooled by that. It has some real simplicity in round corners that when unnoticed  create the link with the ‘Being Bold’ and ‘Fast’ but still has the touch with being ‘Personal’ and ‘Friendly’.

The old identity also had the lack of having the same body text being used in titles and headers. A real no-go. The solution for this wasn’t that hard when you think that you want a font that amplifies the Causten Round but is also accessible for everyone and everywhere. Not to mention the web abilities it needs in this SaaS world we’re in. Roboto is the perfect font that can fulfill the role of being used as a body text.

As you can see the corners are round which gives it a more of a friendly look, but still maintain to have a bold appearance.

5. Images & Patterns

Diving into the decisions that have been made I decided to look into multiple assets that’ve been made in the past. It resulted in one big natural disbalance of styles being used to show the outside world what Storyteq is doing. The proper evolution of a startup.

By reducing the visuals to focus on one feature at a time I symplified and made the product more abstract with a minimalist twist. Resulting in a clear visual about what our product did and how it worked.

Putting the visuals in black and white helps the viewers focus by removing any distraction of color on other aspects of the visual, such as the subject, the textures, shapes,patterns, and the composition. 

Combined with a color overlay from the new color palette really emphasizes the visual,as it gives it an unique look and feel of an Enterprise SaaS.

For patterns I used the triangles that are also used in the figurative mark.Triangles give a feeling of sharpness, guidance, divinity and balance. At the same time, the points of a triangle are echoed in what we are used to seeing in directional contexts, such as compasses or maps. Likewise, many ancient triangular structures such as pyramids and ziggurats are believed to have been built with the implication of reaching towards heaven. This can lend triangles an air of divine guidance which totally matches the Enterprise feeling we want to achieve.

The triangles are used to create patterns to fill up empty spaces but also to strengthen the other images.

The three types of images in the style that’s based on reducing the visual to focus on a specific feature.

A team effort

Refreshing a brand isn’t just a simple task of changing colors and fonts. It’s not as mathematical as the existing brand system + real life usage + time + company growth = updated brand. 

There’s also a little magic involved. 

The magic comes from getting a world-class team together to do what they do best: create, experiment and push boundaries.

The Storyteq marketing team is made up of writers, marketers, coaches, entrepreneurs, typographers, and producers (oh, and we’re hiring, want to join us?). It’s the perfect storm of talent and opportunity – the kind of environment where ideas can flourish, and where the team’s individual talents can be leveraged in all kinds of cool and creative ways. Without the dedication, hard work, and raw talent of these creative folks, I would never have been able to lead and execute this rebrand.

In short

If you feel a bit dizzy after reading all this information about the branding, here is a small cheat-sheet to remember the most important things in the article.

  • Primary font: Causten Round, Extra bold
  • Secondary font: Roboto, Light
  • Primary Color #1: Dark blue, #142893
  • Primary Color #2: Light blue, #3399FF
  • Secondary Color #1: Lighter blue, #98CCFF
  • Secondary Color #2: Light purple, #838DC6
  • Secondary Color #3: Light grey, #F4F4F4
  • Secondary Color #4: Salmon pink, #F58680
Nov 25, 2021
Robert Winkel
Lead Creative
Robert is the Lead Creative and responsible for all the creative designs at Storyteq. He is driven by telling stories with his conceptual visualizations. When he’s not busy shaping creative ideas, you will see him painting portraits and landscapes.

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