By Cynthia Guzmán, Product Designer at Gain
For any company growing quickly or changing direction, a rebrand is an excellent opportunity to focus in on what is resonating with your customers and to build a stronger connection with them.
Teams that work together in the same location can organize in-person brainstorming and collaboration sessions to share design ideas and feedback. But for distributed teams, undergoing an entire redesign remotely can seem overwhelming and challenging.
Our team is distributed across the US and Latin America, and we decided to redesign our logo and branding at a pivotal time for our company. We were undergoing some significant product changes and needed to broaden our product direction.
As a result, not only would the redesign need to include a visual refresh, but it needed to include a refresh of our core strategy and messaging as well.
As a distributed team, the most considerable challenge we faced was how we could be creative, collaborative, and gather meaningful feedback from each other effectively using only digital tools. We realized we needed a plan for a smooth and effective brand redesigning process.
Who would be involved in the process? How will we share ideas and feedback?
Here are some of the steps we followed before we even began the design process to ensure that everyone on our team could be a part of the redesign process effectively regardless of his or her location.
Decide who should be involved (and when)
For a remote redesign to be successful, it’s critical to define who needs to give feedback and when during the process. It may not be necessary to have everyone on the team contributing their feedback each step of the way.
It can also be difficult to know the level of design knowledge each remote team member possesses. You’ll want to figure this out in order to have productive and efficient feedback sessions.
A helpful guide for remote teams is Everett McKay’s UX Design skills ladder. According to McKay, most people can only identify superficial design problems. However, someone who ranks higher up on McKay’s ladder is able to articulate design problems as well as solutions.
McKay’s ladder method can help your design team understand how to interpret each team member’s input when they give it, what type of feedback you’ll want to gather from each person, and when you’ll want to gather it.
Identifying whose feedback you’ll need also depends on each person’s role. For instance, our redesign process started with the company founders who provided business insights and helped us shape the goals of the redesign.
The marketing team’s involvement was also crucial at the beginning of the process to help us align our design goals with the brand’s new messaging.
Once we gathered enough information on the goals, we validated our ideas with the customer support team to ensure they matched what our customers currently believe and say about our brand.
Decide how you will gather everyone’s feedback
Once you’ve defined who will be involved in each step of the redesign process, it’s time to gather feedback on your current brand’s strengths and weaknesses.
What does your team like about your current branding? What values should your branding reflect? Which of these values are not currently represented and what would you change?
Gathering constructive answers to these questions can be challenging when everyone is not located in the same room or the same time zone. Therefore, distributed teams must trade traditional whiteboarding and in-person exercises for online ideation and collaboration tools.
Thankfully, there are many options for remote teams, including Trello, Concept Board, Real Time Board, and more. After we decided on the goals of our redesign, we began putting together and sharing inspirational boards of other brands, color palettes, and illustrations we liked to identify the path we wanted to take.
As a growing company, we had never set aside the time to define our imagery and color palettes before. In addition to defining the visual aspects we wanted to update, we needed to define our voice and the new messaging we wanted to convey to our target audience.
We held weekly feedback sessions using Zoom to review and finalize what we wanted our brand to represent.
Ready for the design stage
Going through a redesign is never easy – especially with a small, distributed team. There’s bound to be feedback and implementation challenges every step of the way.
The key for a successful and rewarding experience is to have a plan. Remote teams face added challenges when it comes to collaboration and communication. Therefore, it’s important to make sure everyone is always communicating and has access to the right tools to share their ideas easily and effectively at the right time in the process.