As companies move from the startup stage into the hundred-million-dollar phase, it’s easy to get rid of a playful, fun visual identity and adopt serious, austere branding to attract enterprise clients. In a world of sans-serif font and the same three-shade color palette, it feels like out-of-the-ordinary, “weird” brands are slowly disappearing.
Mailchimp, on the other hand, is doubling-down on that weird with its new rebrand.
“With this redesign, we set out to retain all the weird, lovable elements that endeared our earliest customers to Mailchimp, while creating space for the brand to grow and connect with even more small businesses. We didn’t want to lose our heritage in the process, so we focused on capturing the essence of what Mailchimp has always been,” wrote Gene Lee, VP of Design, in a blog post.
Working with branding agency Collins, Mailchimp updated their logo, wordmark, typeface, colors (like the bright Cavendish Yellow), and imagery, complete with rough, almost childlike illustrations. To create this new repository of illustrations, Mailchimp worked with both internal illustrators and artists from around the world. On the homepage, there’s a GIF of a pair of hands mimicking bird wings that turns into an actual bird. There’s a person with five legs to represent the automation features.
“That wry sense of humor is an authentic part of their brand,” said Ben Crick, a creative director at Collins who worked on the branding, in a Fast Company article. “They have more of a right to it than most of the tech companies that rely on humor.”
“Being yourself is good for business.”
They’ve also evolved from “MailChimp” to “Mailchimp” with a lowercase c, a nod to their evolution from email marketing to a more holistic marketing platform for small businesses.
Taking risks pays off
Mailchimp isn’t just using this redesign to update their website or logo; they also want to inspire their customers.
“We want to show our customers that being yourself is good for business by providing the tools and confidence to take risks, especially as their businesses evolve. We champion authenticity, originality, and expressiveness because it’s what helps us—and our customers—stand out. We hope to inspire them to be more bold and creative in their own branding efforts,” wrote Gene in a blog post.
To learn more about Mailchimp’s new design system and philosophy, visit design.mailchimp.com.
This @MailChimp redesign is giving me nostalgia of all the variations of Freddie that myself and others made over the years and this is only some of them. Cool to see how this has evolved over the years. ❤️??? pic.twitter.com/28aahRNT62
— Justin Pervorse (@justinpervorse) September 28, 2018
Emily has written for some of the top tech companies, covering everything from creative copywriting to UX design. When she's not writing, she's traveling the world (next stop: Japan!), brewing kombucha, and biking through the Pacific Northwest.