Discover Mailchimp’s new smart branding
Mailchimp’s branding, encapsulated by Freddie the Flashing Monkey, is iconic. So why play with a good thing?
Because even a great brand image has to change over time. The company has grown from a newsletter distribution platform to a global marketing platform with a host of tools and services designed to help small businesses reach their audiences. Now he is responsible for capturing the attention of customers on social media, YouTube channels, websites and his own app. Step into a new motion identity system designed with DIA, a branding studio that created kinetic identities and typographic animations for Squarespace and Nike. “The only movement we ever had was a wink from Freddie,” says Christian Widlic, Creative Director at Mailchimp. “With everything moving digitally and we are turning more to the media, we needed a kinetic identity. “
The most important aspect of the new identity is the outline of the chimpanzee’s head, which fills a screen and then tapers off. From the outline, DIA has developed a set of abstract and organic shapes with improvised curves that can be used as picture frames or as transitions in videos. “It provides a flexible framing device,” says Mitch Paone, partner and creative director of DIA. (For now, the animations have rolled out to the company’s YouTube webinars, but will roll out to the website and app soon.)
But in a world where everything on your screens is alive and in motion, how effective is a kinetic identity? Your Netflix nighttime frenzy begins with an N-shaped ribbon that transforms into a spectrum of light. Your Google search often begins with a topical doodle or original animation. Just because something can moving, does that mean he should?
On the one hand, it’s a clever take on a brand known for its eccentricity. In 2018, the Collins agency, whose client list includes Spotify, Microsoft and Coca-Cola, refreshed Mailchimp’s identity with humorous design touches and quirky designs. This latest redesign ventures further into the weird, turning Freddie into a vehicle for anything the brand might need to grab a customer’s attention.
But for Jonathan Shariat, interaction designer at Google and host of The design review podcast, kinetic branding raises important questions about accessibility. “Not everyone experiences movement, animation and flashing colors on the screen the same way,” he says. What is fun and original for some can be boring for others and even dangerous for still others.
Ultimately, brands like Mailchimp need to balance their goal of standing out with core usability. “Large, bold animations would be great for drawing people to the brand when marketing, but I think once in the app the focus should be on the tasks that users have come to the brand to accomplish.” , explains Shariat. “No need to grab the user’s attention when you already have it. “