As 2019 slows down, it’s time to show off the most exciting project we’ve been working on: the complete Redfin Solutions rebrand.
The previous Redfin Solutions brand was diluted and outdated. The brandmark was difficult to reproduce and didn’t translate well to small icons, which meant it was ineffective, and unrecognizable. Some have even compared it to an orange Rorschach test. As a result, we were often faced with the question, "So what is Redfin Solutions?"
This year, we decided to fix all that.
Our goals were to represent the modern and powerful technology we use, secure our place within the Drupal community, and better reflect the core values of Redfin Solutions.
The complete rebrand is a two-headed beast, and since it falls outside our purview, we brought in reinforcements. For projects that require expertise in additional industries, we work with experts who we trust just as much as our clients trust us. We turned to Robert Levinson of Leverage Advisors for help creating a brand narrative, and we asked Justin Clapp of Clapp Designs to help design our visual identity. Since we have partnered with them before on our clients’ projects, we knew they would each deliver exceptional work.
Levinson’s objectives were to update and evolve Redfin’s brand position and narrative to express a clear vision for the future, excite the marketplace, and on-board and culturally align employees as we grow. “We got Rob involved because he is good at listening to us and our clients, and developing a message that speaks to what we do and what our clients are looking for,” CEO Patrick Corbett explained. Redfin Solutions needed to fully represent what we see in ourselves, as well as what our clients are looking for from us.
To learn the different views of Redfin Solutions, Levinson interviewed our employees, partners, and clients. This took the form of 30 minute phone calls with clients, and a group interview with our employees and partners. All the clients' answers were anonymous in the final presentation to ensure honest insights.
Some of the questions Levinson asked were meant to get a full grasp of what a new brand could reflect and do for us. He asked our clients and partners what car personifies Redfin and why. The most popular answers were Subaru Outback and Toyota Camry, but no matter the car, the reason was our reliability. In response to which store personifies Redfin, the answers were more variable, but the reason was consistently the quality of our services. Levinson used the interview answers to create a brand SWOT, which shows our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats at a glance. This informed the brand narrative he created.
When Levinson asked what one word best describes Redfin, the common answers were experienced, reliable, and Drupal experts. One client even referred to us as “creative Drupal superheroes.” When he asked what we are best at, the overwhelming top two responses were developing Drupal websites, and providing support and education to help our clients with their website needs. Another client said, “I’d be screwed without them. They offer outstanding customer service, and I view them as an extension of my team.” Through this interview process, we learned that it is Redfin’s outstanding service and our attention to our clients that differentiates us from our competitors. Levinson used this point as the cornerstone of our brand narrative.
After gathering all the information, Levinson presented us with a new brand narrative for Redfin Solutions and strategic ideas for the future based off the SWOT. The brand narrative included key messages that are both authentic and aspirational, an elevator speech, key vocabulary, and tagline options. These are not copy or prose, but rather a strategic roadmap for how represent Redfin. Among the strategic ideas were to increase the Redfin Solutions social media presence to build awareness and help establish ourselves in the community, demonstrate thought leadership by offering more training sessions, and showcase our team to demonstrate the breadth and depth of our expertise.
With a shiny, new brand narrative, Redfin Solutions needed a new look. In a kickoff meeting, we provided the direction and inspiration for Justin Clapp to rebrand our visual identity. Since we'd often head confusion over why our fish logo was not red, the consensus was that Redfin was more “red” than “fin.” We decided that if we went with a brandmark, it needed to be reproducible, recognizable, and no longer resemble a Rorschach test. However, it did not need to be another fish. Redfin’s CTO Chris Wells explained that, “We wanted to our look to catch up with where we are and where the technology is heading, and position ourselves as a recognizable leading agency in the Drupal community.” Redfin Solutions needed to appear modern, but timeless. We wanted to strike a balance between fun and friendly without seeming cutesy or unprofessional.
After the kickoff meeting, Clapp heard our concerns, and he came back with two directions we could take. He presented us with an example of a brandmark and wordmark combination and an example standalone wordmark.
The inspiration for the initial brandmark was a combination of the Drupal drop and a fish fin. Clapp merged the classic drop shape with a red fin on the bottom and gave it a stunning orange gradient. We loved the idea, the color, and the connection it has to Drupal. It was close to representing Redfin, however, we worried about blending in with all the camps and conferences that use a similar shape, such as Design 4 Drupal. One slide caught our attention that featured the example brandmark with the red fin cut out of the drop. It deviated from the usual shape, and if you squinted just right, it looked a bit like a fish jumping out of the water. While we hadn’t meant to end up back on this path, this version felt familiar, yet still new and exciting. It was true to Redfin Solutions.
We asked Clapp to keep the same sentiment, but refine the shape and give us more options. In the meantime, we were so excited that we couldn’t stop creating new versions with our own ideas. A friend of Redfin Solutions, Pamala Chavez, even joined in the fun to create her own version. We sent that to Clapp and asked him to merge the two into one.
Clapp delivered in full.
He gave us a spectrum that could be seen as a fish or a drupal drop depending on how you turned your head. We picked one that was modern and not too fishy. In a series of following meetings with Clapp, we chose brandmark colors, logotype, and logotype colors. By including the whole team in this design process, we were able to instill a greater sense of pride in the new look and ensure that it was truly representative of Redfin Solutions.
Clapp succeeded in creating a brandmark that represented our ties to Drupal, put more emphasis on the red part of Redfin Solutions, and still honored our old brand by tying in the orange gradient. At the end of the process, he provided Redfin Solutions with a new visual identity and a style guide for using it.
With both the new brand narrative and the new visual identity finished, there was nothing left to do except put them to work. Since building Drupal websites is one of our top skills, we could think of no better way to share the results of the rebrand than on our own redfinsolutions.com. During the annual Redfin retreat this past October, we took a few days to rebuild our website. It now reflects the rebrand and answers the question, “So what is Redfin Solutions.”
Redfin Solutions is your technology superhero who ensures that you and your brand shine.