Portland-based WebTrends is a pioneer and industry leader in the field of Web analytics (the collection and study of insanely detailed data relating to user behavior on a given Web site). The company had been owned for several years by IT behemoth NetIQ, but was preparing to be spun off from its parent and hired Pinch to help in a re-branding effort in anticipation of its return to independence.
During its years as a NetIQ business unit, WebTrends had – fairly or not – lost some of its reputation for innovation and flexibility, as the Web matured and smaller, nimbler and less expensive tools appeared in the market. It had dedicated itself to reasserting its primacy in the enterprise-level (big commerce sites) analytics market with a major version upgrade – version 7 – of its software. The rebrand was to accompany the launch. Oh, and the launch was coming up…er, rather soon.
Within two months, Pinch developed and deployed a new wordmark and visual language across WebTrends' print and Web collateral ranges, and handed off a new toolkit to the company's in-house design staff. Details follow.
Pinch developed perhaps a hundred marks and wordmarks over five intense rounds of revisions, ultimately producing a pattern element and a sleek wordmark.
Web analytics is complicated; WebTrends' brand promise was providing a simple, easily-parsed interface to the volumes of data produced by the surfing patterns of thousands of visitors to a given site, allowing the site's masters to tune the user experience to turn more users into customers. A WebTrends user might be a Web-savvy marketer, but probably not an engineer or statistician.
So where the company's previous wordmark had referenced technology more explicitly, we worked toward a solution that would reflect the attributes desired in the brand: smart, analytical, approachable, reliable, results-oriented, strong, clear, professional, connected, directed.
The circles in the pattern element are distributed along the 60° axis, locked together in a relationship reminiscent of honeycomb, suggesting community, cooperation, teamwork, industry. From this pattern, we could isolate individual dots to make a WT monogram; with the T creating upward and outward motion, similar to the forward-slope of the company's previous wordmark.
The dots in the T could be further isolated to make the figure 7, which was the version number of the product release.
The clean lines of the wordmark offset the abstraction of the pattern, featuring a capital W drawn to resemble a statistical trend line and humanist touches to soften its geometric roots: terminals are obliqued along the 60° axis to better harmonize with the pattern; counters are left open to suggest transparency of process, and to give the mark the character of a continuous line.
Pinch refined and expanded a color palette developed by WebTrends' UI team to better work in print. We felt that WebTrends should be free to use any and all of these colors without feeling bound to any one of them; the wordmark, instead of being assigned a color, was instead assigned two values, with the Trends component rendering at full strength (or reverse), and the Web component rendering at three-quarters of that value. That worked. But the flexible color palette? Not so much. Man, they really got to like that orange.
The first deployment of the new brand was in a senior-level product brochure, directed by WebTrends' brand manager, Doug Alexander. Here, we articulated the strategic voice of the brand, using fields of bold color to organize information, two bookish type families (Hoefler & Frere-Jones' Gotham and Frantisek Storm's Walbaum Text) to give the content an earthy, conversational feel, and Steve Bloch's portraits of the company's employees, portraying typical customers' desires.
The piece follows a simple, linear logic, and we pushed the client to write tight. This is often the hardest thing to do with technology/software clients, who trade in feature sets and like to ensure that each feature receives equal billing.
Pages from WebTrends' product overview brochure, showing how the product works in the Web retail workflow.
The nut of WebTrends' argument, showing how the product helps retailers acquire, convert and retain customers, cut into an seven-step cycle. Gatefold spread, here shown closed.
The seven-step cycle of acquisition, conversion and retention, in detail, according to WebTrends. Gatefold spread, here shown open.
Product boxes, showing the circle pattern with the figure 7 emphasized. The container component of the box was printed in orange only, while the different flavors of product (here, enterprise and small business) are handled by a two-color sleeve, die-cut to show the orange of the box below.
We have conflicting feelings about software boxes. As designers, we love good packaging and see it as a valuable extension of a brand. But -- particularly in relation to software -- once the box is unpacked, it's waste. Here, we wanted to use as few materials as possible, and shelf bling wasn't an issue, as the product would never be sold in a retail context.
On balance, perhaps we should have counseled against a package at all. Or pushed harder for a reusable carrier, like a binder.
The tactical voice of the brand relied more heavily on the neutral tones of the corporate palette, and on the sans-serif typeface Gotham, particularly beloved of WebTrends' brand manager, Doug Alexander. Where the overview brochure targets the CTO type, 10 Reports, shown here, is targeted to the middle managers who actually would be doing the work. The modular feel with the thick white rules harmonized with work being done by WebTrends in-house Web development folks.
A two-sided product sheet. The curve in the product sheet's header is a transitional element, bridging the changes being made to the product at that time by WebTrends' internal UI folks.