Serio.us · is crafted in San Francisco, CA.
Completed
August 2014

Im — possible

Abstract
Branding and brand guidelines

Having the tools that you need to get your job done is a crucial part of every agency. With Impossible Bureau, we decided to redesign our corporate identity in a scalable design system.

Branding Impossible
Chapter one

It starts with a mark

Logos are tricky. They have to strike a balance between aspiration, reality, brand values and represent the company they're drawn for. The goal for this exercise was to find a distinguishable mark, something which could be easily recognized and remembered after seeing it only once.

FIG. 1
A series of mark explorations and renditions before the final symbol was selected.

As a new-born company, Impossible stands for a multiplicity of things, most of which are changing as the team and company culture evolves. We wanted to symbolize unity, craft and expertise, but most importantly the capacity of asking the right questions.
That's why we favorited a symbol based logo over a wordmark. We wanted something which will attract curiosity, because curios people are the ones who always move forward first.

Branding Impossible
Chapter two

Defining the design language

In a design agency there are a variety of forces working within, sometimes with but at times against themselves. I think of design as a place of outmost rigor and coherence, but also of extreme contradiction: we all want to be modern and elegant, timeless and contemporary at the same time.
The design language originated by the justaxposition of elements that represent our brand values: a bold color palette, matched to a structured type ramp. It's both a nudge to classic graphic design and a push towards what we aspire to be.

FIG. 1
A series of mark explorations and renditions before the final symbol was selected.

In a design agency there are a variety of forces working within, sometimes with but at times against themselves. I think of design as a place of outmost rigor and coherence, but also of extreme contradiction: we all want to be modern and elegant, timeless and contemporary at the same time.
The design language originated by the justaxposition of elements that represent our brand values: a bold color palette, matched to a structured type ramp. It's both a nudge to classic graphic design and a push towards what we aspire to be.

Color

Colors become a crucial instrument to express our brand. We identified a primary color, Crimsonio as the start point of the color study. Neighboring hues were explored to complement the palette, resulting in five discreet tints, each with a characteristic name.

Purpletoni #5122A8
Orchidisio #8D2E9C
Violentonio #C63183
Crimsonio #f53E58
Orangito #EF603C
FIG. 3
Our primary color family. To complement the color accents, we also one neutral tint for light tones and one for dark. We avoid pure colors as they are harsher on the eye.

As part of the color harmony exercise, we looked at how adjacent colors could work together as a gradient. Gradients are an interesting exploration space since they allow for a level of fluidity which is rarely documented in a styleguide, but is understood as something often required by designers in a real world scenario.
We identified five discreet gradients. Four between each neighbouring color and a fifth which encompasses them all. This gives us a lot of chromatic possibilities, which are particularly useful when working on interactive projects.

Typography

As part of our design system, typography is an essential element to provide clarity and hierarchy to the content on the page. Two typefaces and a limited amount of type ramps work harmoniously with the rest of the design language, mixing contemporary and traditional tones together.

FIG. 5
We settled on two brand typefaces, declined across 12 total type ramps.
Branding Impossible
Chapter three

Extending the brand

A brand doesn't live in a vacuum, but lives and evolves through the daily use people make of it. First impressions matter and we want to leave a positive mark with the people we meet. For that reason, we designed and printed business cards that could do that for us.

FIG. 6
350gsm Ebony Black and Bright White duplexed Colorplan paper, Pantone Uncoated 199 U edging, white ink with transparent foil on front.

We also printed stickers, because not everyone wants to be formal all the time. Our SLC office signage is made of laser cut stainless steel, mounted on cedar wood paneling, with backlit LEDs for night time visibility.