Mailchimp recently had a rebrand, and not one that simply cleaned up the old logo (as they have done previously with an improved script logotype by Jessica Hische), but a complete overhaul. A brave move from one of the most well-known marketing platforms in the world. Such a drastic change requires careful design team selection. Mailchimp got it right — they enlisted Collins to help shape the new brand in partnership with the existing in-house team. Collins is a strategy, brand, and experiential design agency with offices in New York and San Francisco. Their portfolio is something to aspire to. They have worked with an impressive list of iconic global brands, such as Nike, Dove, Microsoft, Spotify, Mattel, and Coca-Cola. They were even selected to rebrand Ogilvy, a testament to the respect the agency has garnered from both clients and the design industry. Collins adds a special flavour to all their projects. One of their exceptional strengths is the consistent selection of excellent, yet slightly idiosyncratic typography. They infuse event the biggest and most corporate of brands with a little something unexpected. In their own words, Collins’ strive “to weave the pragmatic with the poetic” and “to break with the mundane and pursue the extraordinary.” These statements reflect their approach to a tee.
Mailchimp’s identity as an independent, fun, easy to use, and quirky company is eloquently communicated through the new wordmark. The bespoke typeface is decidedly weird, and likely to elicit divisive opinions. I love it. It unabashedly stands out in a sea of tidy, sterile brands. Part vintage, part futuristic, part simply odd, its exaggerations do not take away from its warmth. With this new version of the logo, Collins were also able to incorporate the iconic “Frankie” chimp who is so central to the brand name, and who got lost all on his lonesome in his previous incarnations. He has been streamlined to a flat black character drawing. The choice of yellow and black, one of the most recognisable colour combinations, is a great decision too. It stands out clearly in the midst of blue, grey, and red icons that fill up my phone app list.
Cooper Light has been chosen as the main typeface. Combined with the sketchy, child-like illustrations that lead the visual communication, the general aesthetic feels oddly like a nod to the 1960s. However, this illustrative style has been popular of late, so it is not too much of a step back. Mailchimp’s objective to expand their focus to small business owners may play a role in this too — it makes the brand feel more crafty, individual, bespoke. Mailchimp also revealed two photographic styles. The first is familiar approach to small business owner and user portraits. Intimate, homely, and “authentic,” it intends makes the platform appear community focused and friendly. The second is a more high-concept, “surreal” style. Its place in the wider brand story is less obvious, but perhaps will evolve over time.
Have a read through Mailchimp’s new brand reveal here, and peruse Collins’ excellent work on their website.