As we speed toward the end of the first quarter of 2019, the marketing team at Fulcrum are getting a head start on some spring cleaning. Our website and logo are both getting an overhaul, so don’t be alarmed by the distinct smell of freshness. We did that on purpose.
Let’s start with the logo
Sometimes it seems companies change their logos like people change their socks. Maybe they got a new marketing director who wanted to shake things up or a designer came up with something cool while experimenting after hours. We, on the other hand, have never changed our logo. The brief came down the pipeline in 2011 to create a logo for a new initiative called Fulcrum. Many pages of sketches and a few Adobe Illustrator iterations later, the only logo Fulcrum would know for 8 years was born.
Why did we wait so long to make a change?
A cursory glimpse into our company culture quickly reveals an intense aversion to bike-shedding and boondoggles. When your small team is pushing hard to make the best product it can while providing outstanding service, superficiality rapidly shrinks in importance.
Why do it now?
Hard as it is to admit, the branding consistency between Fulcrum (the product) and Spatial Networks (the company creating the product) has never been very strong. Since Fulcrum performs its duties as a standalone platform, this shortcoming didn’t affect our customers directly and therefore didn’t rank highly among the other more impactful priorities. However, as Spatial Networks continues to grow – adding new products to our stable along the way – a consistent design ecosystem becomes necessary. We want to avoid conversations with customers being derailed because they think they’re talking to two (or more) separate companies.
With plans for more products in the works, this is also the sensible time to rip off the branding band-aid. When you have two logos, it’s easy to make the case that they needn’t be too similar. You can explain away the differences and show people how they relate in the marketplace. Add a third logo, however, and you have a decision to make. If your goal is for each product to stand completely alone, diverging its design from the others might make sense. Alternatively, if your products fall into a suite of offerings, as ours do, the decision becomes clear. These products should look like they belong together.
A fresh coat of paint
The decision to bring our product family under the roof of a common design language made figuring out Fulcrum’s design direction unusually straightforward. Just over a year ago we completely restructured the look, feel, HTML, and CSS of our corporate website and it made perfect sense to echo its design cues and codebase with the new Fulcrum site. Much of the templating work already existed and save for a handful of design components used on the Fulcrum site but not on Spatial Networks, the existing code acted as a great starting point.
“That needs updating. Oh, that needs updating, too…”
This was a slightly untraditional take on a redesign in that we didn’t set out to change everything. We didn’t rewrite all the content, update every image, create a whole new set of icons, or any of that. In fact, my first thought was, “I wonder how quickly I could swap everything over and have it not look like someone sneezed on the screen”. It was harder than it sounded. Every time I came across an old graphic that looked a little long in the tooth, I had to fight the urge to spend time making it better. The truth is, everything can always be better, but if I stopped every time I wanted to upgrade a graphic (which was every time I looked at the screen), we would fail the objective. So in the end, we made gains where we could in areas that would help achieve more clarity. We added focus to the navigation by moving secondary / tertiary page links into the footer. We strengthened the messaging throughout to make it more inviting and descriptive. We eliminated redundant pages to allow for more obvious paths through the site, and we’re building a Learning Portal as a one stop shop for guides, docs, and FAQ’s. We’re confident the new site will benefit everyone from prospective customers to full-on power users.
The way ahead
Getting the new site up and running as soon as possible has rippling effects across the entire team. Eliminating the branding ambiguity we’ve been living with over the past few years puts wind in our sails and makes the path ahead that much clearer. The website is the first piece of the branding puzzle, and we’ll be rolling the new logo out to all channels in the coming days.
If you’re a current Fulcrum user, don’t panic. Your workflow doesn’t change one bit and we’re still hard at work consistently improving the platform.
If you’ve yet to try Fulcrum, what are you waiting for? Give us a try. It’s free to sign up, and easy to use.