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Glidden rebrand - behind the scenes

Glidden rebrand - behind the scenes

Posted on: Tuesday 5th June 2012

And so after only 6 years, but what seems like decades, we are pleased at the knowledge that if you are reading this, we must have finally unveiled our new branding!

But why did it take so long, why should anyone consider rebranding at all, and how did we go about the task?

The story goes back 15 years to 1997, when the company was originally founded in London as The Glidden Design Partnership. We created an identity for ourselves which we felt at the time reflected the image of a forward-thinking, sophisticated yet understated, professional design and branding company. The identity consisted of 'Glidden' being written in yellow vertical typography, with the full name beneath in black. Over the next 5 years the identity remained pretty much the same.

In 2002, we decided to relocate the business from London to Edinburgh, and this seemed an opportune time to reappraise what we stood for, our values and how we wanted to be perceived by the types of businesses, organisations and personnel we hoped to engage with. During this transition we changed from being a partnership to a limited company, and the new name Glidden Design was felt to be more succinct. The eye symbol was intended to reflect the fact that what we deal with is perception, which is predominately informed by what we see. Around the same time, something called 'the internet' was becoming popular amongst those in the know, and not wishing to be left out, we leapt into the virtual communications world with a website, designed and built with our own fair hands. The site evolved over the next few years with the addition of new content, however, the basic structure remained.

Existing Glidden Design identityAbove: Our old website

The speed of development of the internet and web design in the early years was and still is phenomenal. Around 2006, four years after the birth of our website, we realised that times had moved on and that we really should appraise our web presence to take advantage of the latest technologies and best practices. In fact, this formed the basis for a complete brand appraisal. Our founding core values were still deemed appropriate, and we set off developing the creative platform on which to build our new visual identity, trying to fit the work in with continuing to service our clients. After around six months, we had the broad principles in place, and had managed to create some beautiful visuals of our new website concept. Fast forward a year and a half later, to 2008, and we had a summit meeting. Still no new branding completed, and still no new website in place. We had simply been too busy with our cherished clients to be able to get to launch. It was too personal a project to farm out - we simply had to make the time. In the meantime, the 2002 Glidden Design website was still manfully struggling along, looking like the guy at the party who dresses differently from everyone else, but you are not sure if he is really retro cool or just innocently out of touch.

2008 also saw us move to lovely new offices in the centre of town. We decided that something needed to be done, and a new push started. But the internet had somewhere to go, and hadn't waited for us. Our lovely 2006 concept was out of date, so we tore it up and started again. The 2008 concepts came together over the next few months, and looked wonderful. We were getting very excited. And again, we were just too busy to bring all the components of a rebrand together and coordinated for launch. The 2002 website was now definitely struggling - he was the guy who didn't get invited to parties anymore . . . just not cool.

Fast forward to mid-2011. Our third attempt to rebrand and to create a website to make us feel proud.

When we are working on rebrand projects for clients we have a very structured process, starting with the strategic analysis, brand value identification and crafting of mission statement and commercial proposition. This we call the brand platform and forms the point of reference and measurement throughout the project. Only when this is complete do we embark on the creative exploration and refinement, into detailed design and implementation. We simply had to practice what we preach and undertake the process on ourselves, which was for us fascinating and enlightening. We also floated the idea of a complete change of name, and brainstormed a huge quantity of suggestions from evolution to revolution. As part of the strategic analysis, we asked our own clients to provide honest feedback on what they liked about us and where we perhaps could improve . . . and the feedback was remarkably consistent.

Glidden brand platform Above: Extract from brand platform

Clients seemed to like our personal, hands-on approach. They like the fact that we do the work and can usually answer their questions! They liked our passion. They called us simply 'Glidden'. It gave the company a human connection.

And so we began once again to create, and create we did. This time we juggled clients, worked long hours (particularly Neil!) and crafted our new brand with passion. We decided early on that the eye needed to go. Be much more simple. And quite daringly not to be a set single colour, rather, to allow for a variety of colour manifestations. We mused at length a descriptor line, and settled on simply 'strategy, creativity, design'. But as we say, brand is more than just a logo, and our visual identity has a black and white photographic staging component which is intended to act as an ever evolving opportunity to convey dynamism and movement, on to which we can place typography in a variety of flexible yet controlled ways.

New Glidden signature

And the website challenge was appraised and we elected to embrace the movement towards gesture based navigation and tablet device proliferation. And we are there!

As a final farewell to our old pal, Mr Website 2002, we lovingly captured screen grabs of all the pages for posterity before the final act of redirection his umbilical IP address, hoping that someday, historians will need to know what the world of web looked like at the turn of the century. Which leads us to that very subject . . . What did some of the world's most famous websites look like when they were launched? Read here>

Visual identity applications 

Glidden signature applications Visual identity system principles

Glidden business cards Business cards in a palette of vibrant colours

Glidden applications iPad New website

Comments (1)

Looking good Andy, nice work!
Alan Wyllie


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