For our latest edition of ‘HeadBox Life’, we caught up with our Lead Brand Designer, John Scott.
Last month, our Head of Marketing, Ann-Marie Rossiter revealed HeadBox’s new branding and talked about our brand strategy. At the forefront of the rebranding was John, our Lead Brand Designer. Here he discusses the journey of the rebrand, the main challenges he faced and the next steps.
Firstly, tell us about you and your role at HeadBox?
I am the Lead Brand Designer at HeadBox. I work with teams across the business designing everything from sales collateral to new products. Essentially if there is a HeadBox logo on it, I have likely put it there!
It is a role I hugely enjoy as no two days are the same and I am able to work with every area of the business. I have 8 years of experience as a Graphic Designer, largely in the luxury and tech industry. Prior to HeadBox, I was running my own e-commerce/digital media business, Get That Filter, which was hugely rewarding, but I was ready for a new challenge.
Tell us a bit about why the rebranding came about?
Coming into HeadBox five months ago I could see that the company had begun to outgrow its initial brand positioning. The branding that had been created four years prior was for headbox.com, our transactional venue marketplace.
However, since then the company’s offering had evolved and with it, new products had been created. Along the way, various identities for these had been created leading to confusing brand architecture and mixed messaging in our communication.
In the years since its inception, HeadBox had changed from an online marketplace to the fastest growing Event Tech brand in the UK, with our offering centred around products, and as such needed a design system to match. Our business offering had grown up so our brand needed to evolve with it.
What were the first steps you took in beginning the journey to rebrand HeadBox?
A lot of work had already been done in terms of Brand Strategy before my arrival and it was clear that we were on the same page. The brief was to remove the current brand architecture and replace it with a brand identity that supports our 2019 positioning more accurately.
What were the main considerations you had to take into place?
Though the brief was open and the team were open to new ideas there was one thing that could not be changed and that was the HeadBox name… We looked at two main routes with the new identity, ‘evolution’ and ‘revolution’.
Evolution took what we had and refined and developed the logo we had. Revolution tore up the old logo and started from scratch!
Naturally, as I had just started working at HeadBox I was hoping for the revolution path, but as we got further into the process it became clear that evolution was what the brand needed. It came back to the idea of our brand growing up. We hadn’t changed completely, we had just matured into something bigger and better.
Plus, moving from start-up status to scale-up we needed a logo and design system that was just that; scalable.
Aside from the logo, there were a number of considerations that needed to be taken into account when rebranding HeadBox. Principally, that the branding had to be ‘Product first’. This meant that every consideration from brand font to colours had to work for the product.
So we chose a Google-hosted font with plenty of weights which read well on screens. The colour palettes we were using had to pass accessibility tests to make sure they were legible across all screen and device types. Whilst these considerations were at times restricting, they also meant that we could eliminate many avenues with solid reasoning.
What were the biggest challenges you faced?
The rebrand was not without its challenges. The first challenge was time. We set ourselves a quick turnaround. The second was scope. A rebrand is not simply swapping out logos and changing colours – it affected every way in which the brand communicated. We split this into four categories for our brand guidelines:
Who we are – Our brand values, behaviours, mission statement and design principles
How we sound – Our tone of voice, writing style, lexicon and grammar
How we look – Our logo, our products, colour palette, fonts, illustration and photography
How we feel – Our UI elements, animation and product design system
Because the rebrand was so comprehensive and we wanted consistency on all four of the areas above, every element had to be redesigned from the ground up. This meant a lot of work, but ultimately meant that everything we have produced meets our consistency criteria.
What are the next steps after the initial rollout?
There are still areas we are working to improve in phase 2 of the rebrand and there were a lot of learnings along the way. Overall we are in a good place to build on what we have achieved so far.
In a time where rebrands have become a spectator sport, where bystanders line up to criticise and mock on Twitter and comment sections, our rebrand has been positively received by our team and customers alike. We are excited to continue to evolve and build out this new brand as the company and our identity continues to evolve.
If you want to read more about life at HeadBox, check out our blogs with our Scrum Master Agnes, our Product Designer Josh and our Lead Front End Engineer Tom.