James Bates
James Bates
30th September 2015

Clearleft just celebrated its 10th birthday – that's a pretty big milestone for any agency.

During that time we've evolved from a small three-person web shop, to a 20+ person agency creating digital services and products for some of Europe's best brands. While many of the values Andy, Rich & Jeremy instilled at its inception still remain, as we've grown things have changed. We're now asked to solve a completely different set of problems for our clients than we did back in 2005.

In addition, each new person we add to the team brings with them their own viewpoints, ideas and processes. All of which subtly add to the fabric of our company.

But, in all that time there's one thing that never evolved. Our identity.

That's about to change.

Having just finished a couple of large client projects, we find ourselves with the luxury of capacity in the studio. So we've decided the time is right to give our brand the care and attention it deserves. Creating something that'll serve us well for another 10 years.

Whilst we haven't started in earnest yet, early discussions have already identified a few areas that need improving:

Messaging and language

How we currently describe what we do is at best inconsistent, and at worst mis-representative or damaging to our brand.

We need to be able to better describe our proposition, create consistency in our messaging and add the right personality to our tone. Hopefully all without losing the individuality that makes us, well, us.

The logo

The existing logo has served us well, ever since Richard’s brother Dave designed it over 10 years ago. Originally intended to be a representation of our name and the type of work we were known for, it no longer seems to convey the right message.

It also has a few problems. Neither the symbol nor word marque are very distinct. For a digital brand it doesn’t reproduce well on screen – especially at small sizes. And it’s almost impossible to use on anything other than a white background. Over the years we’ve tried to make small tweaks to it, but that’s only ended up creating yet more inconsistency.

It undoubtedly has some ‘brand equity’, so we’ll need to figure out whether the logo will be a case of evolution or revolution.

Identity

This one’s easier, there isn’t one. With the exception of the green colour there’s nothing that supports the logo. This limited palette means it’s sometimes difficult to create compelling material that stands out.


So during the next couple of months we’ll try to address all these issues. Ensuring in the future, we all have a common way of both understanding and articulating our brand and its values.

We’re hoping to capture the process as we go, so if you’re interested in what we get up to, then follow us on twitter or check back regularly for more posts.

We’d also love to know what you think. What are your feelings on our brand or existing identity? If you have any thoughts tweet me @jvbates or email me at james.bates@clearleft.com

We’re really looking forward to getting started, but it’s both exciting and daunting in equal measures.