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The Quadmark rebrand: making a mark at 20 years

A discussion with the Head of Design, Will Pointer, about the Quadmark brand refresh for 2020.

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First of all, why did Quadmark decide to refresh its branding?
[Will Pointer] The decision to update Quadmark’s branding was a few months in the making. The old branding was designed in 2012, and as well as celebrating Quadmark’s 20th anniversary, the new branding brings us into the current moment. The old logo was mainly designed for print in a time when we were doing less digital work for our clients. It was inspired by origami — the different shades of blue highlighted the paper folds that created the ‘Q’ shape. However, the logo really needed to be designed to stand out digitally.

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What inspiration did you draw from for the new brand?
[Will] Our inspiration came from the recent Pepsi, Spotify and Premier League rebrands. Simplifying logos, both in colour and shape, has been a really popular trend in the last few years and is super effective. Gumtree and Lotus have also followed the same blueprint of reducing their color palette to a few vibrant shades and making the logos flat and two dimensional. We wanted to do something similar.

So what was your design process?
[Will] Well, the icon came first and everything else came afterwards. I started by sketching out ideas by hand, focusing on the ‘Q’ as the main symbol. We wanted the icon to look like an app, bringing the branding into the digital age and signalling our movement away from print. I spent several months working on the logo around other projects, bringing in other designers to bounce ideas off and play around with different concepts. Although, as usually happens, the first idea ended up being the one that we were all the most happy with.

How would you describe the brand look and feel?
[Will] Confident and simple. A successful brand always has an icon or logo that speaks for itself. It should be able to stand alone and still communicate the essence of that brand. We chose a dark shade of navy blue and contrasted it with a much brighter orange. They work fantastically well on a white background, and when inverted on the dark blue. I wanted to keep the essence of our existing blue and orange branding, but picked two brighter Pantone shades that converted naturally to RGB, keeping their vibrance.

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How do you think the new logo helps to communicate who we are?
[Will] You have to update a brand for the right reasons, ensuring that you keep the essence of the brand. So the company’s story needed to be communicated through the new branding. The quad - that traditional space where ideas are exchanged, and the mark - a demonstration of confidence and impact, are central to who we are. The new icon carries on that brand narrative, symbolizing a stamp of authority. We added the company’s strapline (Advise. Create. Enable.) to both the vertical and horizontal lockups, to help communicate who we are and what we do. This logo really helps to create a cohesive brand narrative and is seen throughout our work — key words are always emphasized in orange, continuing to make a mark.

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What does a rebrand say to our clients?
[Will] A rebrand, communicated in the right way, shows our clients that we aren’t content to stay still. Instead, we want to keep challenging ourselves for the better of us and others. It had been 8 years since the previous Quadmark logo was created, which in business terms is a decent amount of time without a refresh. The rebrand also showcases our creativity to our clients, and demonstrates the importance of aesthetics to both our internal and external work. The branding represents every Quadmarker and needs to be something we are proud to put on our email signatures and letterheads. We have an amazing and talented team of people in numerous fields and disciplines — our logo and brand guidelines help paint that picture.

Think your training materials need a bit of a retouch? Get in touch to find out more about how Quadmark can help you with training design and implementation.

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