Building Our Brand’s Visual Style

Last month, we made a significant (and much-needed) update to our website. The visuals of our previous brand were outdated, generic, and forced. Our visual style was created by repurposing elements from our logo. We used primarily open-source illustration and icon libraries. The visuals did not represent our customers nor ourselves. Now we put our customers first. On every page, we showcase their ideas and their dream it, do it attitude.

Realizing the Dream it, Do it concept

Marketers who use Customer.io are capable and intelligent. They have no shortage of ideas of workflow to build or tests to run. Their willingness to explore ideas is what often brings them to Customer.io in the first place. With their existing customer engagement platform, they experience a conflict. They have an idea for a campaign and excitedly rush to implement it. But then they come to find the platform has idea-crushing limits. They try to work around those limits but soon realize they will never have the flexibility or control they want.

Capable marketers know there has to be another way. They explore workarounds. They leverage their technical skills to overcome most obstacles they face. If they lack specific technical skills, they dive into technical concepts to make their idea happen. They know if they push through and build it, their messaging will be stronger.

This dream it, do it attitude is what makes marketers who use Customer.io so great. We strive to build a product that empowers that spirit. The power and flexibility of our product encourage customers to push the boundaries. While not always pretty, that out-there marketing idea is most likely possible in Customer.io. That is all our customers need to build out their messaging strategy.

Tweet from @wales____
Tweet from @CasJam
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Bringing the brand to our visual design

For our customers, it all starts with an idea. When that idea comes to you, you immediately run to the nearest whiteboard to sketch it out. You start with a few messages, then add some logic, further refining and personalizing your workflow as you go. You erase a section here. Draw a branch there. Add another decision point over there. The whiteboard is your open canvas to tinker and experiment as you look for ways to iterate and improve. When you finish and take a step back, you see your ideal campaign all drawn up. Then all you have to do is make your workflow real.

Hi Customer.io team, is there any way to change email workflow based on a click in an email? I’d like to implement an email workflow similar to the attached image [below]. I’d really love to keep all of our email stuff in cio – just need a way to change workflow based on a click.

A workflow sent to us from a customer

Visually, we have an opportunity to mirror these experiences in our platform. We can replicate elements of a whiteboard and workflow drawings to reinforce the flexibility, control, and power Customer.io gives marketers. Our visual representation should feel familiar to customers across our website and product. Why use metaphors for power or flexibility when we can show it?

At a foundational level, our illustration style is representative of a whiteboard marker. Both icons and illustrations have a hand-drawn style to mimic these early ideas. While these ideas start with a sketch, they end as a built workflow. By highlighting product screenshots, we can mirror the dream (sketch) and the do (Customer.io).

The hero illustration communicates the high-level idea: a sketched-out version of our workflow builder.

With the hand-drawn style, we do need to practice restraint. We are cautious of over-simplifying concepts or adding unnecessary visuals. Instead, we lean into technical elements, like code examples. Our visual design should be in service of the product experience: An automated messaging platform for tech-savvy marketers who want more control and flexibility.

Our visual style is not limited to illustrations and images. Words can often be the best way to communicate an idea. Our styling includes a highlight and underlines to emphasize keywords or phrases. This accent gives our team members another tool in the visual design tool belt, allowing anyone to add visual interest purposefully and intentionally.

Highlighting our integration partners
Underlining key phrases

To our team

Our brand narrative is most compelling when it aligns with our customers and our team. We are not all tech-savvy marketers, but we have all had that moment of realizing that we can do something in a better way. We hack together new campaigns, processes, operational flows just as our customers do in Customer.io. We hope this brand story is energizing because it is uniquely us, for our product and our team.

A special thanks to Agata Celmerowski of Velocity by Design for helping our team realize this story and Ramy Wafaa of Roundicons.com and Dann Petty’s That Marker Pack for helping us bring that story to life!

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