This past January, our Creative and Marketing teams took a hard look at the state of the Smartpress brand. We still had a large list of loyal customers, but our website had become significantly outdated. The Smartpress logo and aesthetic were overwhelmingly generic, and our teams had never aligned strategically on who our target customers were, or should be. Needless to say, we had a lot of work to do.
We set out on what would be nearly a year long journey to redefine our brand direction, visual identity, and website (read about the website redesign here). It would now be an understatement to say that there has been a change at Smartpress.
Our Brand Mission: Create Brilliant Print.
During our rebranding, we discovered that a large portion of our customers were designers and other creative professionals. The new Smartpress brand needed to resonate with this savvy group in both design and messaging. We also wanted our new brand to deeply connect our company and our customers with a shared purpose, and so our new brand mission was created:
To inspire and enable creative professionals to create brilliant print by providing them with the best technology, education, and service in the world.
In short, our new brand promise is to Create Brilliant Print.
All of our design and messaging will now be in this spirit, and it will be focused on instilling the trust and confidence in our customers that we will deliver on this promise.
A New Visual Identity
Next came the task of putting everything about this new brand of ours into a singular visual representation – a new Smartpress logo. Throughout the concept phase a few themes developed. We wanted the logo to portray the relationship between Smartpress and our customers. This idea started to come to life in visual form by having two independent design elements (one for us, and one for our customer) create one cohesive shape.
– Logo design and concepts by Ross Bruggink
We also started to think about how our customer relationships really work. Our customers create a beautiful design, then they put all of their hard work in our hands. They trust us to make the final product live up to their original vision. That moment of interaction, that trusting hand-off from design to production, is where creating brilliant print is actually made possible.
We began to use visual metaphors, like a spark, to illustrate that moment. In the final logomark, this concept is shown by the “S” that is created in the center where the two lines meet. The bottom-left and top-right halves coming together is also reminiscent of a handshake.
Another goal of the logo design was to make something very complex (like our printing process) seem more approachable. The linework in the mark is intricate, yet simple. The typography in the logo was designed to have a uniform, monospaced feeling, commonly found in fonts used for computer programming. This added a precision to the logo.
However, this techy-touch was simultaneously contrasted by subtly rounding the strokes and terminals of the characters. During our research we discovered that 60% of our customer base was female, so these softer design touches helped make the styling of the mark appear more friendly and slightly less masculine.
It’s been an adventure and a lot of hard work, but it was well worth the effort. We’re excited that we now have a brand identity that communicates the passion behind what we do every day here at Smartpress. We’re also more confident than ever that we are more accurately representing our true identity to our customers.