Postlight

A brand platform for a digital platform studio

The Brief

Three websites, two logos, and just barely two years in business

Postlight is a Digital Product Studio. Founded in 2016, the company builds mobile apps, web apps, back-end infrastructure platforms and consumer-facing products, for clients in a wide array of industries. I was hired to design a lasting brand identity. In order to do so, I first sought out the brand’s foundation.

My Role

I facilitated a two-day workshop to define a light brand positioning. I took the brand brief and designed a brand identity along documenting it's application. I designed the current website, working closely with engineers in implementation.

Team

Will Denton—Product & Brand Designer
Ben Nyberg—Front-end Engineer
Xarissa Holdaway—Product Manager
Gina Trapani—Back-end Engineer
Stephen Carlson—Illustrator

Approach

Making the abstract idea of “brand” into something concrete

I facilitated two half-day workshops with the partners to help uncover what makes Postlight valuable, and how to start articulating that message to the right audience. We sought to answer these questions:

Why are we doing this…

What business problem are you trying to solve?
How does a new website and logo help solve the problem?
What change do we seek to create?

Who is this for…

How do we speak to our current clients? What are their needs?
And how might we earn the attention of prospective clients?

What is the story that we tell…

How do you tell a story that people want to hear?
How might we articulate the business offering with a differentiated advantage?

How will we know what success looks like?*

(More on that in the conclusion)

All the partners just had different visions for the company, and different answers for these questions. My goal with the workshop was to tease out varied interpretations and make them plain to see. Then facilitate alignment around the company's long-term goals, values and audience. The results of the workshop were documented and served as the brand brief.

Execution

Expressing the identity from a shared set of values

In essence, Postlight builds platforms. Digital platforms for their customers to scale their businesses, as well as giving innovative thinkers a platform to share their ideas on their podcast. And empower people with technology.

Auditing the current identity

After establishing the brand idea, I focused on the logo and asked, does this logo speak to our values? and is this logo distinctive? I prepared a brand audit to help answer both those questions.

The former Postlight logo compared to similar marks.

A logo is not as important as the ideas behind it — growth, scale, expertise, and community.

The former logo did not represent the values of the company, nor was it distinctive. The generic mark distracted from the distinctive name. So I brought the focus back to the name. I created a simple extensible system to bring together the podcast, creative lab, and the agency.

Forethought backgrounds

The graphic patterns play a supporting role in the brand identity system, but they are not an after-thought. I took inspiration from the neo futurist movement—an avant-garde art, architecture and design practice embodying the growth of modern cities, man's relationship to technology, and an idealistic outlook on the future. Postlight represents these values in the digital space. Coincidentally enough, both founders came of age in the 1980s, when retro-futurism became an integral part of the visual culture. I took inspiration from both movements to develop the graphics system.

Conclusion

A sturdy foundation, built for growth

I created an identity that leaned on the imaginative potential of the name, and removed any elements that might obstruct that. What resulted was a foundation for a brand, that has evolved without losing it's integrity

What could I have done better? Establish a measure of success.

I could have been a stronger advocate for measuring success earlier. Although many metrics are proxies, there is still value in unraveling a little bit of the mystery in subjective and emotional matter. Currently, marketing is testing new messages on the website, to see what ideas resonate with prospective clients.

More Work