When our brand gave us the ick

Our journey to newfound love for the MakeGood brand

Portrait photograph of Becky, a woman with shoulder length dark brown hair and a fringe.
Written by Becky
Co-Creative director

After seeing how well we work together, a few joint projects under our belt, and the self-reflective effects of lockdown 2020, we founded MakeGood.

Work was quickly coming in so we needed to get a brand and website out there. Although rushed, our visual brand of playful fonts, colours and illustrations felt like us at the time.

Two years on we were working with bigger organisations on longer projects, requiring more breadth of expertise. We’d grown from just Meg and Becky to an expanded team of technical and creative experts, now offering brand strategy, content strategy, UX, web development, animation and product design.

A brand we’d outgrown

As we’d grown, the seams of our brand were starting to fray. It wasn’t the Meg and Becky show anymore, our roles had shifted and our brand needed to keep up.

When our brand and website started giving us the ick, we knew we needed help from brand strategist Emmie Spencer to fall in love with our brand again.

An outsider’s perspective

Emmie began the discovery process by interviewing us and our clients, to give us an invaluable outsider’s perspective of MakeGood.

Feedback from our clients and partners was overwhelmingly positive and highlighted the quality of our thinking, how we push ourselves and our clients to get the best outcomes and our ability to solve business problems.

“They are not just designers – they are always thinking about business strategy. They’re actually solving business problems. It’s business transformation.”

“They will ask you difficult questions.
“We can do this better”.”

“They are not bullshitters”

The only negatives were that we were hugely underselling ourselves as our offering reaches far beyond just visual design.

Emmie’s brand workshop and recommendations were enlightening and thought-provoking. We left the office in a haze, feeling like we’d just undergone an emotionally intense therapy session.

“They massively underestimate themselves. They don’t see themselves as more than designers. Classic female imposter syndrome.”

How are you making good?

It felt like we’d always been on the same page with who we want to work with. On the rare occasion that we had an inquiry from a potential client that didn’t feel aligned with our values, we found it quite easy to follow our gut instinct. But this now felt like a good opportunity to review our criteria for who we work with, or at least put it down on paper.

When working through a list of hypothetical and real-life scenarios it became clear that with some products and services the harm would always outweigh the good, no matter how they’re produced or delivered. It was this balancing scale of harm vs. good which informed our decision making.

We want great design to belong to those
working for the greater good

Greater good

There were some scenarios where our judgement was skewed. To fully achieve world change and equality we realised our “good” metric needed to be based on the amount of good for the greater number of people. This is what formed our new ‘are they making good?’ criteria and brand purpose – ‘We want great design to belong to those working for the greater good’.

We take an integrated approach
to brand and digital design

Our offer

As our expertise expanded, our offer became narrower. We now lead with ‘We create Brands and Digital Experiences’, followed by our integrated approach. This replaces the previously detailed lists of what we’ve produced.

The visual brand

Once we had our brand proposition, values and verbal style tied down, we needed to match it with a refreshed visual identity. We’d always prized ourselves for being gentle but firm, but our visual brand was previously tipping too far into the gentle side, and this no longer reflected the success of our projects, agency size and approach.

Our visual brand needed to feel braver and bolder, whilst allowing space for our work to sing.

Photograph of a group of people, two are sat at a table in the foreground and two are standing behind smiling. None are looking into the camera.

Retaining human-ness

We didn’t want to lose the human qualities of our past brand, but no longer wanted to rely on soft and whimsical illustrations to express this.

Instead we worked with photographer Emma Crowman, whose natural reportage style felt just right for our brand.

We asked Emma to come in and take photographs of the team during some workshop sessions, and took the opportunity to break away and have some team photos taken in and around our studio.

Photography has become a key element of our brand in picturing our services and how we like to work together.

Applying our brand

Designing for yourself is always a challenge, so the new website design underwent many iterations until we were eventually happy with the look and feel.

Brand elements

To show the technical precision of MakeGood, soft colours were replaced with a mature and bolder palette. The organic curves of our logo formed playful graphic headers, combined with a refined brand font.

Brand shapes

Concave and convex shapes symbolise stages within our process. Just like our approach, shapes expand and retract.

Illustration

Pen and ink drawings are an evolution of our original (but whimsical) brand style. Designed to retain some of our softer more human qualities and bring our values and reflective blog content to life.

Whilst we write this reflective post, it’s even clearer how our design decisions root back to Emmie’s initial research and thinking. Which is another reminder of the value of brand strategy before embarking on a new visual identity.

It’s been a slow brand launch, due to client work taking priority. But we’re joyous to finally introduce our new and much-loved brand and website.

Is your brand giving you the ick?

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