Bristol creative studio Workbrands has relaunched as Shaped By, a creative studio for global tech brands.
Workbrands, founded by Nick Farrar and Steve Goss in 2005, has grown from a bedroom startup to a 15-strong agency. The company has steadily extended its influence and expertise within the tech sector on both sides of the Atlantic over recent years, working with global companies including Autodesk, Rubrik and Nutanix.
These companies may build tech products, but they’re really in the business of change. Shaped By delivers brand identity and creative marketing that helps these changemaker brands to communicate how their technology changes people’s lives for the better.
Shaped By revolves around the idea that there is a direct link between the level of creativity invested in marketing, and the impact that it has. According to an Adobe State of Create report, companies that foster creativity boast 1.5x more market share compared to those that overlook it.
“At the start of 2020 we challenged ourselves to make our agency the best creative agency it could be. The launch of our new brand is the culmination of this process,” says Nick.
“The Shaped By brand name and core concept reflects the fact that, as humans we are all shaped by our life experiences, our environment and the people around us: we are a constant work in progress,” he adds. “Similarly in a work context, the Shaped By team shapes the outcome of a project through our collaboration with clients.”
“The brand design and execution for Shaped By aims to build on the brand concept and name in creating something that’s very fluid,” says Shaped By creative director Tom Ovens. “We’ve envisioned a brand that’s influenced and ‘shaped by’ its surroundings; it can be dismantled or re-purposed to help reflect the context / narrative.”
Shaped By’s visual identity is represented by the interplay between two distinct elements – the brand mark and the word mark.
“The treatment that we’ve done to the type design is intentionally minimal and pared back,” explains Tom. “We wanted to hero the beauty of the type design. Its simplicity is the perfect complement to the more expressive brand mark.”
The brand mark is both expressive and playful. A simple, bold and abstract form, it can be deconstructed into simple geometric shapes, or abstracted further to be ‘shaped by’ its environment. The flexibility of the brand mark also allows the brand to grow and evolve in line with the company itself.
“The total effect can be quite simple even with the brand mark and the word mark coming together,” Tom says. “Equally, there’s scope to be more experimental and bold. For example, the new word and brand marks can move, dance, the lighting can change: they can transition around one another.”
Colour-wise, Shaped By is mostly black and white, but with a splash of vivid, vibrant RGB blue that has evolved into an instantly recognisable shade. “We wanted a colour that could work really well with white with black in isolation or in combination,” Tom says. “The black, the white and the blue are the only colours that are locked into our new brand design as a running theme. Everything else is up for grabs, which gives us freedom to interpret and execute around individual client touch points.”
Overall Tom says, “simplicity is at the core of what we’re trying to do. Our tech clients often have to market complex products and services. Where we add value is in identifying and simplifying the core of what needs to be conveyed. Nine times out of 10, design will be more effective, more beautiful, more functional and more relevant to the end audience if it’s simple.”
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