Case Study: Rebranding Shortcut
Sometimes evolution happens, but it’s one of those things that only happens if you’re willing to make it happen, amirite?
Here at Shortcut, we love evolution. Our latest evolution, our logo. Actually, from a brand perspective, we’ve been chipping away, evolving almost everything, not only the logo. We started with an update to our logo, but as we dug deeper into it, the change had a knock-on effect across other areas of our brand style. So here’s the breakdown!
Our current logo had spawned from our name change back in 2021. We were formerly called Clubhouse, and due to circumstances outside of our control, we had to change our name to Shortcut, the ripple effect being a logo change. Now, a couple of years on, we felt it was time to move things forward once more, a new, improved, evolved logo being the next chapter for our brand identity.
Once it was decided that we were going to tackle the project, a small team was assembled to collaborate on the logo. I, as Lead Brand Designer, was in the designer seat, with Arman (CPO) and Kurt (CEO) as main stakeholders in the project. We wanted to keep things tight, keeping outside involvement to a minimum, which allowed us to move fast. Most people across the company weren’t even aware we were doing it. And to be honest, keeping the team tight worked very well. We flew through the process. Another nice benefit was that I worked on the first Shortcut logo, so a lot of the background work had already been done. I could hit the ground running.
We knew this logo update was an evolution of our current logo. Which meant we knew we were going to keep the abstract S approach, which allowed us to stay super focused on inventing an evolved S that suited Shortcut.
Like any logo ideation process, I started by callling out the criteria of what would make a successful logo. We expected the logo to:
- work well with the collateral
- work well at different size
- stand up to the competition
- be simple yet recognizeable
- align to our company values
- feel like an evolution of our existing logo
I ran through the creative process of laying out many logo’s, too many. So many I was dreaming about ‘S’ marks in my sleep. I won’t bore you with the deepest and darkest artboard’s of logo creation, so we’ll jump to where things started to get interesting. I worked out various logos that I felt may work. Below are a few suggestions that were half decent, albeit a little unshaved.
My next step after working out some decent options, was to see how they’d feel in the real world. I built out some concepts, to see how it’d work as a logo on our website, within our app, in social media assets etc.
This step allowed our stakeholders to get a better idea of how the logo would actually work. Pretty quickly across all my variations, we pin pointed a logo that we felt had potential. One of the main painpoints of our logo was that it felt too rounded, and dated, too bubbly. The below logo was where we wanted to focus our attention.
It felt dynamic, modern and was a nice evolution of our existing logo, although the color palette was definitely the next area up for debate. I worked through many, many color variations. Many. Many. Some worked, some didn’t.
When we got to this stage, one of the most important comments of the whole project, was from Kurt, our CEO. He reminded us that we were evolving our logo, not creating a new logo, and that the best approach would be to keep it aligned with our existing color palette. This made a lot of sense. We focused our attention on aligning the colors to our current Shortcut Blues, which cut out a lot of the subjective opinions regarding a palette that worked. We worked to finesse some subtle gradients into the logo to add some depth and that was it. We had gotten to a place where we were all happy with our logo. Bish, bash, bosh, our new logo was created!
The Font Choice
Next up was the font. This one actually fell into place pretty quick. From a typography perfect, a few months ago a font caught my eye, Satoshi. I had tried it out on the word ‘Shortcut’ and it sat perfectly. The weight, the shape and balance of the letters, it just felt right so it was quickly decided that that would be our new typeface across our brand. We introduced it within the logo as well as our primary font choice across our marketing material. Visually it felt more like where we wanted our brand style to sit. It’s professional, clean cut, and looked smart, just like Shortcut.
The Visual Hook
Recently, as our brand has been evolving, one of the areas that I felt we were somewhat falling down was having a differentiator. Something that separated us from other dark Saas tech brands. With this new logo, it gave me the opportunity to introduce a visual style that would sit alongside our logo, and would compliment it. I tried out introducing the shape geometric lines from our logo into the overall brand style, and it introduced a really nice, dynamic feel to our style.
The Icon Style
Now that we had our new, swish, logo, it gave us a chance to update our icon style, away from the more hand drawn illustrative approach we had previously, to a more subtle, overlayed icon that would compliment our visual style. I worked up a new variation of icon that worked nicely with the other factors of the brand, to create more cohesiveness across all touch points, that we felt aligned better with our brand values.
And here we are, a new logo, that pushed a new visual style across all touchpoints of our brand identity. From logo change, to a new font, icon style and an overall new visual treatment for our brand.
Like I said at the start, evolution only happens if you’re willing to allow it to happen, so we plan on constantly push our brand identity forward. Be sure to keep an eye out, and of course, if you’re not a Shortcut user already, be sure to try us out. We bring Product and Engineering together.