How (and why) we rebranded Codepixel

by Nenad Pejović
28/12/2023
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If there’s something that Codepixel was missing, it’s the visual identity of an renowned and established company with many success stories behind it. 

A short background story:

When Codepixel was formed, even before the official incorporation, I decided on the name of the company myself and created a simple black and white logo in a rectangle, which symbolized cutting edges and squares as pixels. 

As someone with a front end background, and a pixel perfect eye I might add 🙂, I decided that the name should combine coding and pixels, thus Code-pixel was born. 

We never really went different from that when me and my co-founder started going officially in business, but used the same logo to be our visual identity to design a modern website (which is still our current website website)

However, along the way we failed to realize that Codepixel is not the company it used to be in 2018, and that the new brand should reflect that. Our logo has gone through some changes over the years, but it was never really modified to the extent of what we represent today. 

Over 5 years in business, but this is the first time we have gone through a real rebranding process, a puzzle that is missing in this whole story that the Codepixel is today. 

As part of our strategic goals in 2023 we wanted to refresh the whole styleguide and visual appearance on our online channels. Easier said than done, am I right? 

Let me tell you how it happened. 

Finding our guiding light – QQRIQ

None of us could fully devote ourselves to sit down and create a plan, where we will dig deeper into our identity, values and what should represent us, so we had to search elsewhere. 

In our defense, we were knee-deep in projects, where our designers and founders were busy and overloaded with tasks. The visual identity? Well, it continued to be neglected and constantly pushed back in our Clickup folders. 

After months of drifting and struggling to produce something valuable, while browsing through Linkedin I saw a post from a local designer “Helping tech companies elevate their brand”. So I thought, why not give him a call? 

That was our introduction to Andrej Šeter, founder of the design agency QQRIQ, a young and ambitious entrepreneur, with an extensive experience in design and branding.  

I liked how he expressed himself, also saw a bit of our culture matching to what his company is trying to achieve, which is why I decided that he can be a perfect fit to be our guide through the entire process of rebranding.

We had a meeting where we outlined all our problems and we had an agreement on the approach. Andrej will work with our company as a brand consultant, leading us step by step through the process, while our team will do the heavy work of actually designing the style. 

We assembled a so-called rebranding team, which included the founders of Codepixel and our design team, with Andrej being project lead in such an environment. 

From that point we knew that we needed to commit and find time to go through the process, despite the circumstances and the chaos that was happening while handling the clients and their projects. 

Our side goal is also organizing a more focused team, that will be responsible for implementing later marketing and branding activities, defined by the developed branding strategy.

The process & workshops 

Over the course of the past 3 months we have held extensive training and workshop sessions with the core members of Codepixel, to cover over the range of topics:

  1. Brand Audit & Discovery
  2. User Profiles & Business Goals
  3. Attribute Clustering
  4. Stylescapes

Workshops were attended by our management and design team members. Over the course of training, we have conducted interactive sessions with intentions to not only deliver on brand discovery, user profiles, business goals and attributes, but also to educate, train and help young design and business team members grow and learn. 

It is important to note that during the course of the project, we’ve faced numerous challenges. Most of the team members’ branding experience was on a very low level, and there weren’t any marketing and branding background nor advanced experience. Most of the work was previously done by intuition and driven by ad hoc needs of the company, with no plan and structure behind marketing, digital presence nor branding activities.

Beside having a large team working on the subject matter we’ve managed to find schedules that work for everyone. During the course of meetings, we have insisted on an interactive approach where the model of teaching and facilitating is not one directional, but two-way information flow with more dedication to every single question and unclear momentum of the workshop.

That is why our workshops were very intensive events, lasting 2+ hours each, with additional dedication to any individual needs directed towards me, as design consultant in this project role.

All decision making at the workshops is made by team, no single decision will be made along this process as one person goes to option. This framework makes decision making most efficient and fitting as the voting system is designed to have multiple options presented in the first cycles of the workshop sessions. After the voting system was implemented, we were left with 3 attributes or single word adjectives that align with selected attributes for each column.

After highly intensive Attributes workshops, it was time for homework and we started creating meaning behind our adjectives, which the team selected together. By this moment, we have created the main foundation of the whole branding process, which will define pillars of the Codepixel brand culture.

At this point, we have also produced the first brand statements that were provided to the Codepixel team for the further development and variations.

Within the next workshops, we have started working on user profiles and business goals. This is very important from the angle of a design consultant to be able to understand the business right, to understand services, activities that are being done within those services and values those activities bring to the final customers, and all of that in terms to solve pain points of the customers.

After a hard and tectonic hour session of defining customers, we have focused on defining goals with the short revenue, awareness and efficiency graphs, rated by desirability and doability points, as one way of effort/impact graph.

Stylescapes

At the final workshop, we have finally started designing! Our first goal was stylescapes. We have made small teams within the team and started creating stylescapes. These workshops were highly creative and fun, with a high level of learning design principles, aesthetics and styles. With these 4 completely different style directions, this process is the most important to define the aesthetics and way of the design process of the logo and complete visual identity.

Four big, 200 by 30cm, boards (stylescapes) were printed, presented and this made it possible to discuss, show by hand and point which elements the team likes, and which are ones that we are aiming to avoid.

Stylescapes were created as a visual direction for our brand’s aesthetics. 

These stylescapes were instrumental in guiding the logo design and setting the tone for our brand book, and those are directly connected to the user personas we have defined during the series of workshops.

Three distinct stylescape directions were developed:

Society Improver

Milestone Seeker

Tech Capitalist

Also, alongside creating stylescapes, our designers were facilitated throughout the process, learning about the importance of creating stylescapes for visual identity activities. Within this process of creating stylescapes, designers have developed significant knowledge about typography, messaging, design styles, imagery, design systems and combined in one sentence, a connection between graphic elements and meaning behind those graphic elements, which is crucial in setting the visual and verbal tone of the communication in saturated market of today’s internet.

From square to a circle

The very first thought that comes to your mind when the word “pixel” is heard, is square shape. Anyone who has basic interest in the digital sphere, knows what a pixel is and how it looks. Square.

That is where things start to be more interesting. If you dig deeper looking for the DNA of Codepixel, you’d realize that our organization is everything but basic, everything but surface, everything but pixel as a square. That is where lighting bulbs above our heads started shining.

What else could it be? As we were thriving for visual transformation, we thought about the transformation as an idea, or ideology per say. Our actions of coding for the consequence have a positive change for our clients in terms of business advancement, which pushed our thinking process to express it, not only verbally, but also visually.

What if our pixel is round shaped? – someone asked.

Well, that is where the creative thinking happened. At that point we have found a way of thinking about the square shape as a fast-rotating element, which in the eye of the viewer creates a circle shape.

And so, our logo embarked on a transformative journey. We have made a bold decision of a circle as a pixel representing a Codepixel as an organization that is always moving forward, transforming in developing, looking at it as a really dynamic and always moving process.

The decision was not just a matter of aesthetics; it was a symbolic shift from what Codepixel was at the beginning, towards what it is now and where we want to be in the future.

This transition symbolizes the company’s commitment to perpetual innovation and its embrace of diverse perspectives. The circle’s completion represents a full cycle of growth through transformation, encapsulating the company’s adaptability in a constantly evolving digital landscape.

A splash of vibrancy 

After many reconsiderations, we decided to add more options to our spectrum.

The decision to transition from the classic combination of black, red, and white to a more dynamic palette featuring gradient colors was not merely a visual facelift but a strategic move to align our brand with the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Now, the power of our distinctive three-color gradient palette as a cornerstone of our brand identity. This gradient, thoughtfully composed and harmoniously blended, represents the essence of our brand’s personality.

Playful patterns 

The choice to move away from the traditional black, red, and white palette was driven by a desire to break free from the monotony and embrace a more contemporary and visually engaging aesthetic. While the classic colors served us well, we recognized the need to inject a fresh and vibrant energy into our brand that would resonate with our dynamic approach to software development.

Codepixel’s new colors are more than just a visual transformation; they are a celebration of our identity, values, and the vibrant energy that propels us into the future.

Pictograms

Our distinctive logo mark, the letter “C,” serves as the cornerstone of our brand identity. This versatile element takes on a new dimension when transformed into pictograms, with the dot thoughtfully integrated into the letter forming a visual representation of the human eye. This design choice symbolizes our brand’s focus on perspective, insight, and clarity, capturing the essence of how we perceive the world and connect with our clients on a deeper level.

These pictograms further extend their significance by embodying a spectrum of emotions, allowing our brand to communicate not just ideas, but feelings. Designers are encouraged to innovate and create new pictograms, while upholding the integrity of the red color and the black representation for the mouth.

C as in Codepixel 

Many iterations have been made in the designing process of a new logo. The final new logo is a blend of abstract and literal elements, symbolizing newly set approach and industry expertise. The logo’s design is versatile, scalable, and recognizable, suitable for various mediums. It reflects our brand’s personality and is aligned with the chosen elements of the stylescape, appealing to the target demographic.

The end product is an elegantly crafted logo, in vibrant gradient colors, which gives a feel of a happy and positive-culture company. 

We hope you like the new look as we do, now we truly believe it represents us in a way that we feel it should be. A company with a great culture, a valuable partner and the contributor to society. 

This is only the beginning of our journey, we plan to redesign our website and we want to do a complete overhaul of our online presence. The current website, which is slightly updated with our new style guide, will serve only as a transition into our revitalized brand

Our new website will be the cover face of our company, built on the most modern tech and frameworks, and provide its visitors with a unique digital experience that mirrors the spirit and culture of Codepixel. The countdown has begun ⏱️

Also, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for their support in our rebranding journey through the Youth in Business program. Their generous grant has not only helped us to redefine our visual identity but has also fueled our commitment to innovation, youth empowerment, and digital excellence.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our rebranding process and stay with us for more awesome content.

Cheers