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15 Jan 2020

The New S+C

By Talie Smith

Smith + Connors has come a long way from when we began in 2013. Over the last six years, we have grown as a team, been honored to work with amazing clients, and sharpened our point of view. While our core purpose and heart remain steadfast, our expertise, voice, and team have evolved. Last year, we began to feel that our brand didn’t convey who we’ve become and where we want to go.

If a client came to us with this narrative our advice would be, “Hey, this is the time to rethink your brand!” This is what we do, after all. We see the effect that aligned branding has on businesses and organizations, so we knew in our bones that it was time to reimagine how we express ourselves.

First, a moment of acknowledgement

It is not easy to look deep down inside your own company, organization, or self. It is not easy to ask people what they think of you. It is not easy to soul search and examine all the realities of what you are. I am speaking for my partners and team, though from my experience working with clients, I know we’re not alone. Taking ourselves through a rebrand was very illuminating, something that I’m sure will result in us becoming even more empathetic towards our clients going through a similar process. Feelings of excitement mixed with some apprehension came up for many of us.

I feel very grateful to have a team I love and trust to go through this process with. I have an amazing team that is forgiving but also not afraid to speak up when things are hard or don’t feel right. We make each other better, and this is represented in our new brand.

Where we were

S+C was founded by Scott, Becca, and myself with a vision of creating an agency for profit and purpose. As we raised our kids and navigated how to be entrepreneurs, we also built our brand around this idea that we are a thoughtful team ready to tackle our clients' problems. The typeface we used was rounded, open, and neatly stacked. We purposefully kept it a bit understated from a design perspective. We were new on the scene and figuring out how to do it all.

Old SC Logo4x3

Our old logo conveyed our strength in strategy, but it did not feel representative of our other core disciplines: design and technology. The yellow was sunshiney and warm, but it was also extremely limiting to work with across materials and tools. We leaned heavily into the backward ampersand to signal that we think differently. But as we encountered more and more ubiquitous use of ampersands in brands, our own ampersand began to feel undifferentiated.

Our team was ready for a brand design system that allowed us more latitude in expression and imagination. We wanted to create a brand that reflects our range of talent and skill, and gives us a chance to show more of who we are.

Where we’re going

Commence rebrand! 2019 was a year of complete transformation for our business. We turned over every rock and overhauled it, from production to process to tools and more. The rebrand was part of this, of course, and helped us do some soul searching to figure out what makes us different and how we could live into who we are more fully.

Three Key Concepts

As we went through our process of self-examination and asking clients and peers their opinion of us, three key concepts emerged that are at the heart of what we want to express: 

  1. Insight + Depth: We go deep to uncover what might not be clear on the surface. We help our clients shift perspectives to see important truths. This is central to how we approach our work.   
  2. Empathy + Humanity: Our values and mission are why we exist. They guide us in all aspects of our work and lives. We listen carefully and feel for our clients, their struggles and their potential. And we do the same for their audiences. We knew this needed to come through mightily in our new brand. 
  3. Surprise + Delight: We are a team that enjoys laughing together and having fun in our work. Shifting the way we look at things is the essence of humor and joy.

The Evolution of our Logo

Our previous logo was too linear and wasn’t doing the job. So we got rid of pure linearity, and started with a new grid.

We designed a completely new logo, even moving away from our beloved “&.” The simplicity of the + felt right, especially wedged between the S+C on the isometric grid. We’re now showcasing the S+C much more prominently as we now often use it as our abbreviated name.

 

New SC Logo4x2

We can arrange the S+C in many different orientations, expressing the importance of our flexibility and support in how we partner.

New SC Logo Variations4x

Designing on the grid

Designing our brand on an isometric grid feels exciting. It offers us infinite ways to manifest concepts and ideas. It is a canvas upon which we can explore, experiment, imagine.

New SC Testimonial2x2

Graphics live on varied planes in the background with content grounding it in the foreground. The coming together of different planes represents our approach to the work: going deep and beyond but then coming back to gravity to bring forth concepts and tools that work in the real world.

New SC Graphic4x 

Onward

It is incredibly gratifying to launch our new brand and feel the excitement and alignment within our team. We are experiencing the lift that comes with a clear way forward. Our hope is that our new look signals to clients who have the courage to venture into the deep end, to seek out and manifest what is true, to join us in our steadfast commitment to move the world toward more honesty and humanity.

New SC Values4x

Heart Signoff Horizontal4x2 

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