Question: Inhouse Brand Studios trying to be unique

almost 4 years ago from

Recently we have seen an influx of internal brand studio's doing off the wall designs that are so far removed from their product, that it almost looks like they're trying to break their mould on purpose. (ex Intercom, Dropbox,MailChimp, Evernote etc.)

My question is, is a brand team not meant to be creating a persona that makes people identify with the product? What is the point of constantly doing unique pieces of art that is so far removed from the product that it doesn't sit anywhere near the actual product?

Also, if all these brand studios try to be unique, but are following current trends, all their work ends up looking very similar to each other so then you struggle to even what brand you're looking at when you see their work...


  • Andrew C, almost 4 years ago

    This is almost always a byproduct of separated or fragmented design functions within a company and a poorly run project.

    Websites are typically "owned" by marketing departments, since they're responsible for attracting new users to the product. So marketing often will have graphic/web designers there pushing that agenda. Websites take low/medium dev effort to change.

    Product will also have designers, pushing usability and feature work along to some metric of their own (renewals, user complaints, time-on-app, or even NPS if the product is massive). Products take large dev effort to change because of release plans. Changing a brand is almost by necessity a waterfall project, too.

    You have two design teams with misaligned goals. So you get fragmentation like this. Most companies have this kind of discord, to be honest. Org structure is the foundation that you can build great products on.

    I'd be surprised if Dropbox / Kickstarter product teams weren't trying to catch up to their new websites... or their entire product teams were disagreeing internally with changes to the brand they don't feel they were involved with.

    2 points
  • Ryan Hicks, almost 4 years ago

    Where has intercom gone wrong? It's the same style they've had for awhile. Mailbox has been shut down for almost 2 years. And evernote?

    Kickstarter and Dropbox are the only ones that come to my mind.

    1 point
  • Jrtorrents Dorman , almost 4 years ago
    1. Most of the new tech startps (Facebook, Airbnb, Dropox etc) end up hiring way more designers than they need. Since they can't always be working on the core product.. as they say.. “the devil finds work for idle hands to do”
    1 point