Creating a Great Brand from the Ground Up
There was never a question of who PeopleSync CEO Gerrit Zaayman wanted to create the brand for his new company. He had already worked with Angled End before at his prior position with logistics software creator Softeon, another company whose entire brand was created from scratch by AEI, and therefore had personal experience with the high level of design acumen and project management that AEI offers. Gerrit also had the luxury of creating his company’s brand from scratch (always the best plan of action when it’s feasible), since PeopleSync was brand-new and had the marketing budget to support that initial investment. After a few conference calls to discuss strategy, it was time to get rolling.
Believe it or not, no employee of Angled End has ever personally met with Gerrit Zaayman or any other PeopleSync employee! While face-to-face meetings are a great way to start any business relationship, they are simply not required in this day and age. Between conference calls, screen sharing and email, virtually all necessary graphic/web design communication is as fluid from thousands of miles away as it would be from within the same office. Less than half of AEI’s clientele reside in the same cities that our offices are based.
The initial data-gathering work that AEI begins with on all projects includes the following basic questions:
1. What does your company do?
2. Who is your target audience?
3. Who are your competitors?
4. What are your visual and conceptual goals?
The majority of conceptual exploration revolves around those questions, and distilling that highly-detailed data down to its core factors is what leads us to the basic ideas that inform the direction of the brand. In PeopleSync’s case, our discussions led us to the following set of four adjectives: professional, powerful, elegant and accessible. Everything that we created for this company needed to invoke those qualities.
First Stop: the Logo
Among the visual and conceptual goals that Gerrit and his team held were that they needed to make use of the same shade of red as their parent company, Shadowmatch, and that the logo needed to contain people (for obvious reasons). It is also important to convey that PeopleSync’s system helps to bring forward the perfect candidate for a particular job role. After many rounds of sketching, design, discussion and revision, we arrived at the image that you see here, which the company could proudly say carried all of the qualities that they required.
Next Up: Cards & Stationery
Business cards are an unusual beast, in that they carry the potential to stand out and impact people to a degree that belies the simplicity of their design and production. While the nature of PeopleSync’s industry (human resources) requires a fairly conservative presentation on the front/informational side of the card, they were able to get away with more “flair” on the back. It is in this space that Angled End also decided to carry over one other branding element from Shadowmatch: a subtle texture created by a grid of receding dots. A mission-appropriate Aristotle quote accompanies a white version of the company logo to form a compelling “gift offering” of the card back.
The stationery received a similarly “cautiously fun” treatment, using a top-center location for the logo and decorating the lower corners with the graded dot grid.
Last But Not Least: the Website
Probably the most important branding element of a decision-maker-facing B2B business like PeopleSync is their website. A great deal of information needs to be available and conveyed in a strategic fashion, supporting both the effort to lead potential customers through a logical sales pitch and to give them fluid access to more granular information. Oh, and then there are those core concepts to worry about! With a lot of collaboration from both sides, AEI was able to generate a robust but serene website that delivers PeopleSync’s message in a powerful but not overbearing manner.
Due to the need for a robust and complex infrastructure, the site was based on the Drupal content management system (CMS). Other special features of the site include a snappy, graceful home page animation based in Flash, a rotating testimonial display just below that and beautiful informational diagrams throughout the site.
PeopleSync’s branding suite stands as a shining example of what Angled End can create in partnership with a client who understands the value of strong, consistent design. The PeopleSync team is proud of their marketing materials, and we’re proud to be able to work with such a terrific company.
Whit Gurley is the owner and chief design geek at Angled End.