Meet the new brand, same as the old brand—except that it’s different

Antonio "pelle" Pellegrino

Antonio "pelle" Pellegrino

So the Mutable logo looks pink now. No, don’t adjust the color settings on your screens, that’s by design. This updated M logo actually serves as a focal point upon which we are rolling out a fresh new look for Mutable. But we didn’t just change the color (which, by the way, is technically “Neon Fuchsia”) and call it a day. There’s a whole story behind our expedition to rebrand the company, which I will share with you here:

Companies don’t typically rebrand on a whim. In our case, the motion was triggered by the realization that in the half-decade since we launched, our purpose had––true to its name––mutated to become something much larger. It was pretty obvious to us that our branding no longer appropriately reflected what we’re about. 

But that revelation came as no surprise, given that:

Mutable, or liable to change, in our nature:

Our orange logo was never meant to be permanent. In fact, I designed it myself, like all of the previous logos,––mostly to have some way of identifying us when we pitched our startup to investors...and save a few bucks on outsourcing. At the time, I viewed branding as something to get out of the way so we could focus all our energy into delivering on the promises of the next-gen low-latency applications, and making the internet faster, closer, safer and greener.

From my description, our previous branding might sound like an afterthought, but we did put a lot of thought into it––echoes of which made their way into our current brand. The logo design is elegantly simple(oh you should have seen the previous version): The square grid is made up of tiny building blocks, each of which represents distributed nodes serving unique functions. The “M” at the center is what unites them all into a network, making communication and synergy possible. 

For our typeface, we went for the time-tested classic Helvetica Neue. We picked orange because it’s a dynamic color, represented moving fast, not unlike the sort of company Mutable was at the time.

Dynamism in Motion:

But Mutable is a very different company today. In those four years, we’ve learned a ton, built new relationships, reached significant milestones, and grew as a company. We needed a way to communicate these accomplishments and signal to our partners, investors, clients and ourselves that we’ve matured––and we’re ready to scale. 

With development starting on our latest products, our crude design system was starting to show its limitations. Our logotype was hard to apply in smaller sizes, while the typeface was overused to the point of being cliché. It was time for a fresh brand that reflects our evolution from a developer tool platform, to our new role as the Marketplace for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations:

True to Star Trek’s ideal, we gathered our team scattered in six countries across two continents in one place for a one-of-a-kind brainstorming session in Cyprus––which, as an island, offers no escape. 

First, we established these guiding principles:

- As a decentralized, remote(people)-first company, Mutable embodies the spirit of diversification
- Mutable is built on collaboration––among our team, partners, or clients
- Mutable is open for everyone
- Mutable is a collection of things that come together and will always change

Then we set these goals for a successful rebranding:

- Communicate Mutable’s readiness to scale our business 
- Empower our customers
- Embrace our distinctiveness from our competitors
- Design commonality between our main brand and our different products

Collaborating with the excellent creative consultancy Factory 39, we reimagined a totally new design system to visually articulate our company values through our brand.

Mutable-ly Unique—and Uniquely Mutable

As outsiders hell-bent on disrupting the cloud computing industry, Mutable was always meant to stand out. Rather than fight it, we owned up to that reputation, which permeates throughout our brand architecture. Our new logo was designed to be both instantly recognizable in a crowded field, but also share enough design commonality with our suite of products.

The Logo: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

You’re all thinking it, so let me just say it: yeah, it doesn’t look like a radical departure from the previous one—except for it being neon fuchsia  instead of orange now. And there’s a reason for this: As it turns out, nothing stands out more in the tech field than neon fuchsia. Neon fuchsia communicates emotional balance. The infusion of violet’s calming energy serves to restrain the more passionate energy in the red shade. This universal harmony mirrors Mutable’s inclusive nature despite the constant push for diversification.

Aside from a series of tweaks to correct misaligned squares in the grid, and centering the ‘M’ logo, the only significant change can be seen in the typeface.

The design commonality requirement meant that it was time to retire the venerable Helvetica. In its place, we chose CUBE, because it just has more character, but also fits better with the square-heavy brand aesthetic. This typeface also appears on all logos across our product line and meshes well with the Nexa font used in our brand applications.

Mutable Products:

Aside from being unmistakably ‘Mutable’ in character, our new design language was designed to provide visual commonality across all the new products that we’re launching this year: Mutable Cloud Platform, Mutable Kubernetes Platform, Marketplace, Console and Dashboard. 

The Mutable master brand also lends some of its design elements to the visual language of our product sub-brands. Simple geometric shapes cut out from the Mutable Grid can be reassembled to as abstract depictions of the products which they represent. One design element shared between all the product sub-brands is the orientation of the shapes around a neon fuchsia core, representing Mutable. 

The Building Blocks of a New Design System

The principles which guided our rebranding also found their way into every aspect of our design system. Accompanying our new brand identity is a new website, conceived as a new home for all our Mutable products. But I won’t bore you with those details now, perhaps a separate blog post is warranted for the new website. 

Let me know if we achieved what we set out to do with our new brand!