Rebranding Zapnito

How did we refresh our brand without completely changing it?

Go to the profile of Matt Hall
Aug 01, 2018
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We announced our rebrand during our summer party. You may have already seen some elements gradually being phased in. So what have we done as part of phase one?

Why rebrand?

Bolts everywhere! (All logos copyright of their respective owners)

For quite a while, we kept seeing other brands visually similar to our own. It's not a problem unique to us, of course. In design, nothing is original:

It was during a meeting at WeWork when Charles came across this:

Even electrical cabinets are using our logo!

That was the final straw. It was time for a rebrand.

Our new logo

The first objective was to ditch the lightning bolt. It was far too ambiguous. But what to replace it with?

From the start, we decided to steer clear of the same tired clichés to represent knowledge and networks - brains, lightbulbs, network nodes (or mixtures of the three).

After exploring several routes, we honed down our decisions, and began to craft our preferred choice.

We decided to focus on our name and elected for a wordmark and a lettermark. The word Zapnito is succinct and distinctive in its own right so we felt there wasn't any need for a pictorial representation of our business.

The differences between the old (blue) and the new (red)

The wordmark has a few subtle changes. The joint angle of the letter "z" is now pointed - a nod to the recently departed lightning bolt. The crossbar of the "t" was too wide so this was shortened. The terminal of the "t" has been smoothed out and joins the "o". Both of these changes make the "i" and "o" feel less disconnected.

The idea behind the lettermark was to illustrate a sense of noise, gradually quietening down - the orbs becoming more regular as they got closer to the "z". The principle behind it worked for us, however the detail was lost as the lettermark was resized down. So we removed the added detail and came up with something a lot simpler, something we affectionately refer to as "The Potato":

Po-tay-toes
"What we need is a few good taters."

Typography

While working on the rebrand we began exploring new typefaces. Our previous typeface, "Lato" while readable, didn't quite have that cleanliness we were after, particularly in heavier weights.

The criteria for a new typeface was first and foremost readability. The typeface must be easily readable at any size, whether it be for headings or small print. The typeface must also match the clean aesthetic we're aiming to achieve. And finally, the typeface must retain that cleanliness across all weights, enabling us to establish a clear typographic hierarchy. 

We decided on "Avenir Next". This typeface was designed by renowned type designer Adrian Frutiger in collaboration with Monotype Type Director, Akira Kobayashi. It's a reworking of Frutiger's original Avenir, with added focus on readability for screen.

Avenir Next ticked all the boxes. It's a very clean and pleasing font, easy to read at any size, and retains it's clean aesthetic across all weights. What's more, in French Avenir translates as "future" - a perfect metaphor for a rebrand.

Colour palette

We felt the existing colour palette was still suitably vibrant and fresh so we've only made one tiny change. We retained the Zapnito red to as a base but added a subtle gradient to give it a little depth. 

Usage

A few concepts using our refreshed brand

What's next?

For phase two we will be working on updating our design system, Jellyfish, extending these principles of cleanliness to our platform. For customers using our default theme, you will gradually see these changes over the coming months. Watch this space for another post on the process behind that.

Go to the profile of Matt Hall

Matt Hall

Creative Director, Zapnito

Creative Director at Zapnito. Former Design Lead at Sporting Index and Senior Designer at Informa Business Information. Over 9 years experience in UX/UI design and front end-development.

1 Comments

Go to the profile of Jen Thoroughgood
Jen Thoroughgood 5 months ago

Great post Matt. And great redesign work! V proud of the potato.