In response to The Collected Works, one of many essential causes its latest shopper Expensify was seeking to rebrand was to treatment a perceived mismatch between the ‘wacky’ vibe of the model’s advertising and advertisements (particularly its 2019 Superbowl business), and its core visible identification. Which begs the query – how far does a model identification itself must mimic or dictate its advertisements?
Positive, the principle level of any identification venture’s strategic section is to make sure that there’s a holistic, recognisable, constant model world that interprets throughout each touchpoint, from its signage and e mail signatures, to social media posts and tone of voice. All the things visible, verbal, and aural has to return again to that model’s core ethos – it’s branding 101. However do branding components themselves – the emblem, typography, illustrations, colors – should be immediately mirrored throughout, say, packaging to TV spots?
Among the best advertisements of all time, the long-lasting Jonathan Glazer-directed Guinness Surfer, has nothing to do with Guinness in any respect till the final minute – not to mention mimic its emblem or imagery. The movie would have been quite totally different had been it peppered with Guinness toucans, and had the voiceover not have been Scottish, and had been it not shot within the distinctly-not-Eire location of Hawaii.
Briefly, manufacturers will be cohesive whereas additionally modulating their temper. No-one, and no model, is at all times bouncing-off-the-walls cheery, as Expensify appears to wish to be. And in some ways, its new branding displays this: the emblem in its static kind (and to an extent in movement) stays largely impartial, because it’s virtually solely right down to the illustrations (and, typically, the playful typography decisions) to do the legwork relating to exhibiting simply how ‘enjoyable’ the corporate is thru brilliant colors and out-there characters.
Clearly it’s an uncommon route for a finance model; however it’s debatable how sensible that strategy is. Clearly it’s often no unhealthy factor for a model to shake off the shackles of its sectors’ cliches, and insurgent in opposition to historic expectations round the way it ought to or shouldn’t behave. However then again, who’re we kidding: does anybody actually get this fired up about expensing – so pumped that they’d wish to put on a baseball cap with ‘Receipts’ emblazoned throughout the entrance, or a pin badge of their chosen software program’s emblem?
Whereas we’re on that time, can we make a plea for manufacturers to not get so excited a couple of rebrand that they make rafts of quite pointless ‘swag’? See Reddit’s patches; Feeld’s jewelry/bizarre potion – a part of an otherwise-superb rebrand from Made Thought; and right here, Expensify’s emblem pin badges, caps, and water bottles (certain, they encourage re-use, however in the end didn’t should be made in any respect). Absolutely by now all of us get the entire ‘local weather disaster’ factor (and the actual fact most of these things most likely will get binned).
The brand new color palette does away with Expensify’s former quite company, conservative blue; opting as an alternative for a inexperienced ‘hero color’. As with the playful, extra ‘wacky’ branding components, inexperienced is a good alternative when it comes to setting Expensify aside from different monetary software program manufacturers. Its draw back is that (to me, no less than) the ‘E’ roundel emblem now seems to be distinctly prefer it ought to sign a recycling plant, or sit as a standardised marker on packaging to inform you which bin it goes in. When you see that, it’s very arduous to unsee it. Which is ironic actually, contemplating the entire problem of the pointless merch.
The inexperienced is accompanied by a variety of largely vibrant secondary colors to assist the model work throughout a variety of purposes, in addition to contemplating accessibility and inclusivity via a ‘vary of pores and skin tonalities for human characters’. The Collected Works, ‘established just a few major color combos and utilization pointers, which permit for plenty of flexibility however take out the second guessing when anybody on the crew is creating a brand new asset’.
For all our gripes, we’re not saying The Collected Works hasn’t completed job right here: the branding is visually quite pretty. And it’s a courageous venture too, for the aforementioned bucking of monetary sector developments in each type, and within the and motion- and illustration-led strategy.
The suite of illustrations by Augenblick Studios is undoubtedly the standout side of Expensify’s new identification; and it’s attention-grabbing to think about the skateboard sticker-like aesthetic utilized to a non-FMCG model. The marginally goofy, thick black outlined, 90s MTV type is actually having a second: in latest months we’ve seen it on Robotic Meals’s identification for Goldmine hashish gummies (a becoming software if ever there have been one); Earthling’s high-octane designs for Prime of the Mornin’ Espresso; and Giselle Guerro’s sensible work for Nobell Meals.
Augenblick’s relationship with Expensify predates The Collected Works; with the Brooklyn-based studio having labored on the animated portion of the two Chainz-studded Superbowl advert, titled ‘EXPENSIFY TH!$’, that seemingly catalysed its rebrand (it’s round 2 minutes 43 seconds in, when you had been questioning).
‘After the success of [the 2019 ad], Expensify couldn’t cease considering of the portal to the animated universe that that they had simply opened: a world the place expense experiences don’t suck, and receipt scanning will be completed in outer house,’ says The Collected Works. ‘Along with Augenblick Studios we dove a lot deeper into this world, introducing a brand new set of characters, vignettes, and backgrounds, in addition to simplified illustrations that may work iconographically, that carry the product and messaging to life.’
And there’s no denying how nice these icons are: they work brilliantly as every part from navigation to editorial spot illustrations on the Expensify web site. And really merely, they’re a whole lot of enjoyable.
The typography additionally displays that deft interaction of joyfulness and usefulness: The Collected Works launched three new customised kind households – Expensify New Kansas, Expensify Neue, and Expensify Mono, created with kind foundries CoType and Newlyn. Consequently, all the typefaces have shared DNA of their letterforms, and look nice each in digital and bodily executions.
Newlyn created New Kansas initially as a modernised model of the perennially ubiquitous (and undeniably charming) Cooper Black. Like skateboard-style illustrations, the color inexperienced, and quirky movement graphics; Cooper Black has some purposes that really feel like a no brainer (t-shirts, file sleeves, countercultural-leaning e book covers) and others that really feel a bit off. As Pentagram associate Michael Bierut identified, it’s not preferrred for, say, a newly restored 1885 Carpenter Gothic church. ‘Cooper Black is a superbly good font, however in my thoughts it’s a fats, blissful font related to the emblem for the Nationwide Lampoon, the sleeve of the Seashore Boys’ Pet Sounds album and low cost retailers up and down the US,’ he instructed the New York Occasions. ‘I wouldn’t select it as a font for St. Agnes Church at the same time as a joke.’
As as to if Expensify’s property will show to be a Pet Sounds or a St Agnes, solely time will inform.