FINDING THE IN-BETWEEN SWEET SPOT
If you’ve been in the design world in the last decade, you probably know Extensis. They’re that software company that brought you all sorts of plug-ins years ago. And, of course, they wrote the book on font management with SuitCase. In the last few years, they’ve focused their efforts on font management, digital asset management, and now web typography. While transitioning to the new, tighter focus has gone well – and nearly every product release has been solid – the excitement and spark seemed to be lost with their brand. They never really acknowledged, internally or externally, that they’d dialed into the right business, the right mission, at the right time.
And they knew it. So, they called their digital agency, Blue Collar Interactive (www.bluecollagency.com), to help rekindle that flame. And Blue Collar called Owen Jones.
Owen started by writing some lists: Who has an opinion about this? Who are the influencers? Who is going to care if Extensis changed? What would we want to know from them?
Then we turned our ears on, and we started dialing.
We listened to everyone that would take our call, including Extensis customers and partners like Adobe, Microsoft, and Publicis, and a slew of Extensis employees from nearly every department both here in the United States and abroad.
The State of the Extensis Union according to all these people?
While Extensis enabled creativity their brand didn’t feel creative itself. They seemed stuck between two very different markets: Creative Professionals and IT Professionals – not exactly two groups that hang out after work all too often.
And that, on the surface, is a scary spot for a brand: Being caught in the purgatory of their in-between-ness.
Owen’s take: The between is exactly where Extensis makes perfect sense. They’re keeping both sides of the business of creativity progressing. They help creative professionals make the most of their digital tools and information professionals make the most of their time. Neither world is very productive without each other, and Extensis is their yin and yang enabler. They lighten IT’s load, while helping creative people find the right assets – the ones that inspire the most – to create the best work.
OK, but how do they do that? With all of the below. The Extensis Brand Attributes.
Quality means you get what you pay for, with zero buyers remorse. It’s part of everything Extensis does, every product they make and every interaction they have with every customer.
Creativity isn’t exclusive to the artists; it’s utilized by all. Extensis puts it to use every day, and their products enable those creating the visual and experiential world in which we live.
Technology doesn’t sit still. Ever. Extensis doesn’t sit still either. They’re constantly evolving, and it’s good for their soul. It keeps them thinking, striving and growing in the only direction that matters: forward.
That’s a big word, we know. But, it captures one’s true passion for what drives you. Love is central to Extensis. They love creativity. They love type. They love design. They love making it all interact seamlessly. They love what they do.
We showed these concepts to the teams at Extensis and asked: Is this who you are? Do these inspire you in the right directions?
The answer was a resounding “yes”.
And so, with the concepts and language feeling good, we moved on to visual work. Boy, did we know that this was a brand that would be scrutinized with aggravating detail by our peers. Imagine, if you will, the discussions that ensued as we threw these up on the wall over the next several weeks:
Not surprisingly for a company that loves typography, a typographic solution was in order. We’re really happy with the direction that our good friends at Extensis chose. A custom piece of lettering makes up the “e” mark, and gives the brand personality and playfulness. The logotype was also customized, with some help from Thomas Phinney at Extensis, beginning with the Adelle typeface. The two together create something both beautiful and unique, and speak to the creative yin and business yang. We couldn’t be happier. And it appears, neither could Extensis.