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Branding Connected in a Remote-First World

Taliya Cohen

Taliya Cohen

Brand Designer

March 16, 2022

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

For several years, I did a lot of freelance design work, and one of the most common requests from companies was to craft their logo and build their brand identity. An effort that usually began from scratch. 

Whenever this request came up, one of the first questions I always asked is, if you could describe your company to me as a person, how would you describe them? 

No detail is too small, no embellishment too silly. What kind of stories would they tell? What kind of jokes would they laugh at? How would they interact with strangers? What would they wear? What would I think of them if I caught a fleeting glimpse of them from across the room?

Aside from the obvious: colour, type, and the weaving together of an aesthetically pleasing and relevant design system; to do any branding effort justice, I always try to ensure I capture the deeper essence of the company; the equivalent to the feeling you get about a person after they leave the room. 

Of course, practically, a brand presents itself as a collection of colours, typefaces, imagery, icons, and other visual and tonal signifiers, but to me, brand identity is inextricably linked to personality. When I design, I start at the heart and work my way out. Creating a brand identity means getting to know a company on a deeper personal level before exploring the colour palettes, typefaces, patterns, or logos that will come to represent them.

This isn’t the easiest of tasks in ideal circumstances; however, our modern reality pits us against new challenges. Mainly, how does a person accomplish this in a remote-first world? Is it possible for a person to grasp the nuances of a company, its culture and personality when they haven’t had the opportunity to immerse themselves among the beating hearts and driving forces of the community that exists there? And what if that historical in-person community that brands try so hard to capture has had to adapt and change like the rest of us?

This is the reality I’ve been negotiating since starting remotely as Marketing Brand Designer at Connected, and a concern I had upon my start.  But in just a few short weeks, the Connected culture erased any apprehensions I had – as I learned it was designed to do. 

Exposure to the texture of the company, the personalities of the people, and innovation in the projects is a constant. As a result, I am empowered and enabled to do my best work as well as educate and empower others in continuous collaboration and knowledge sharing. 

The first two weeks at Connected, I spent more time meeting other Connectors than I did studying the style guide, learning about organizational systems, or any other logistics that would eventually need to be dealt with. Instead, every day I met with 3 or 4 new people and had long conversations about Connected, their experience here, their passions, their lives, and anything else that might come up.

Over those first few weeks, I not only learned so much, but I also had the opportunity to share my own knowledge, both personal and professional. And after having the opportunity to speak with so many of my colleagues, I noticed a common thread among them. That despite how unique everyone was, how colourful their backgrounds, diverse their education, or varied their experiences were, every single person struck me as not only incredibly smart, but also incredibly kind.

This display of authentic character perfectly illustrates the way Connected sets itself apart by exposing who they are on a human level. 

Experiencing and being immersed in this culture virtually has given me an understanding of not only the company and its values, but has enabled me to do my job as Marketing Brand Designer better. 

I’m not simply following the rules set out in a style guide. I am designing to communicate my experience of the Connected personality to the rest of the world. The Connected personality guides every choice I make and the design elements are the vehicle that communicates that personality.

Connected’s commitment to creating a thriving community that truly adheres to its values (smart, kind, reliable, teachers, and learners) has made this remote work experience an asset to me as the Marketing Brand Designer and to the Connected brand. And I can’t wait to keep sharing our culture and community with the world, through our brand!

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