Vibrant, Fresh and Modern – Meet the Newly Branded Zest
Over three short years, Zest has entered, influenced and triumphed in the employee engagement market. We’re a forward-thinking, progressive company with a mission to deliver our customers an innovative, integrated solution to team engagement. Since the beginning, we’ve seen huge growth and evolution, but our visual identity has stayed the same.
In mid-2018 we embarked on a six-month project to rebrand Zest. In such a rapidly developing market, we needed a more modern, fresh and impactful identity to stand out. Our product, messaging and market poisoning had evolved, but our brand was stuck in the past.
Starting with an evolution of the logo, font and color palette, and finishing up with a new website, solution interface, sales collateral and all external communications, Zest is proud to have achieved seamless brand consistency across every touch point.
Officially launched last December, here we are to explain the journey behind Zest’s new visual identity.
Here at Zest, we practise what we preach. With our strong focus on career development and skill acquisition, we turned to the best people to do the job of rebranding Zest: our internal design team.
Usually geared towards creativity on the product front, our team of design experts led the charge in the initial rebranding stages. With unrivalled knowledge of our solution, our customers and our mission, they were the top choice for the challenge.
Since day 1 of this project, we had one pre-requisite: the rebrand had to be an evolution of Zest’s previous identity. We have a strong customer base and dominant position in the market, therefore the success of Zest 2.0 needed to be built upon these inherent strengths. That meant keeping the name (we’ll always be Zest!), similar colors (a vibrant green paired with a deep dark hue), and our renowned smile built into the logo.
The team began devising a design strategy that would stay true to the core meaning of Zest.
Zest’s first logo was created when the company launched in 2015. From the beginning, the identity was designed to be playful and fun. This is primarily illustrated through the smile in the logo, reflecting happiness at work and the promise of fulfilled employees.
Hence, the smile became an essential part of our identity. However, there was a problem; many people didn’t associate the upward arc under the letter ‘e’ as a smile. It was confused with many things: the curve of a lemon, the flick of a pen, a piece of citrus peel… among other things. We realised we had a problem if our most important visual element was unclear.
A second problem was the design of the old identity – the logo felt outdated and the choice of color palette was hard to apply effectively. Overall the branding was difficult to standardize and not powerful enough for the highly competitive (and saturated!) employee engagement market.Recognising these two issues, we identified it as the way to start our journey towards Zest’s rebrand.
It was important that the new logo was a clear evolution of the previous, hence we would stay within some boundaries: the smile under the ‘e’, the dark text and green smile accent, the curve of the ‘t’…
Early on we choose Averta as Zest’s new font and based the new logo around this typeface. The letters ‘z e s t’ are customized from Averta; the subtle changes to the font can be observed in the rounded corners and smoothness of the letters.
After many iterations, we’re proud to introduce Zest’s new logo:
With our new font reflected in the logo, we’d achieved the first tick on the consistency check list. We decided to use Avera everywhere as the single font across all mediums. The choice to use just one font came down to two things: consistency and simplicity. With these two adjectives at the heart of the rebrand, it made sense to source one clean, modern font. The freshness of a Grotesque font, including the roundness of the letters, boasts an organic and friendly shape, aligning with Zest’s own approach.
To stay on the evolution path, we thought it important to keep green as our primary colour. Associated with vibrancy, freshness and, of course, citrus, green is the perfect reflection of the spirit of Zest. Our original green, whilst more citrussy, was highly tinged with yellow, making it a difficult color to use in large quantities (important for marketing purposes) and not very calming to the eye. By adding a touch blue, we created a dynamic vibrant green which still contained the energy of the original.
The same was done for the rest of the palette; the dark purple morphed to a deep, slick navy blue, a great contrast to the green and used in most text instances. The other colors, primarily for use in the solution interface, were chosen to compliment the green and navy. We derived a palette of colors that would blend together in varying instances to allow for multiple applications and thus achieving a secondary palette of striking gradients.
Theisotype, which is often used as a standalone identifier, is comprised of a stylised square with rounded corners in the new Zest green colour, and sitting inside it is the smile form, a reflection of the shape making up the bottom of the letter ‘e’.
The new isotype is an obvious evolution of the previous, however we have built upon the outer abstract shape to give it more meaning. It strives to reflect a message bubble (emphasising our focus on communication), a feedback icon (a core feature of Zest), and as a bonus, when rotated 45º counter-clockwise, it takes the form of a lemon; a subtle mention to our origins.
Once the core brand elements were defined, we needed to roll out the new branding to our most important marketing element: our website.
Sharing more than just a lunchroom, we choose to outsource the design of Zest new website to office neighbors and creative design agency, CosaVostra. From Day 1 there was strong alignment between the teams; Zest’s clear vision complimented CosaVostra’s creative approach. This, coupled with the teams’ physical proximity, made it an obvious and smart decision to work together.
Experts in UI and UX, CosaVostra designed a state-of-the-art website, targeted towards the B2B SaaS market. The new Zest website showcases a fresh look, with custom-made illustrations, a responsive and easy-to-navigate design, and a strong focus on thought leadership. A dedicated Content Hub is updated regularly with industry news, articles and educational resources.
And to perfectly round up the partnership, CosaVostra are experiencing Zest’s solution first hand; boosting engagement within our own team since trialing the product in December.
Finally, Zest’s new identity is in the process of being reflected into our solution itself. Over the new few months, a roll-out of the new branding, across both web and mobile, will provide users with a complete new interface, improving user experience and creating seamless brand consistency.
Stay tuned for updates on our product strategy, centred around an optimised design system.
Logo, font, color, collateral, content… we’re entering 2019 as a completely updated version of Zest, clearly an evolution and maintaining our core essence. Consistent across every touch point, Zest is now more aligned than ever before, creating a seamless experience for the users. Modernized for the B2B SaaS environment, we’re confident Zest’s new identity will propels us ahead of the competition and cements us as a leader in the employee engagement market.