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Clear thinking and proudly Northern: a fresh identity for Isotoma

It was distilling the essence of our work at Isotoma into the phrase “simple and complex’’ that turned out to be the catalyst for our bold new brand.

After ten years of living happily with our pixelated red flower device and slimline logo font, we knew it was time for change. As a business, we’ve altered tremendously and we needed to reflect those changes, shake up what we stood for and rally staff and customers alike behind a fresh vision.

But stripping down the branding we’d lived with for a decade was bound to be painful.

Although we talk about challenging assumptions in our work for other people, it’s always tough to do it for yourself. So we invited novelist, friend and semiotic consultant Matthew de Abaitua to come in and help us distil what we’re always saying about ourselves into something that could be put on the page.

He swiftly worked out what we were not (no one-size-fits-all solutions, no squeezing clients through “sausage factory” processes) and got to the heart of what makes us tick.

We stand for clear thinking, sophistication through simplicity, and transcending boundaries. And we’re proud of our Northern roots, something we wanted to shout about.

Our innovative web applications are bursting with detail, complexity and technical expertise. Under the hood they’re often incredibly dense and geeky. But what our customers get when using these products is an elegant, exceptional and delightful experience.

Having bottled our essence, we took that insight to our York neighbours Lazenby Brown to devise new branding. It wasn’t easy to say goodbye to our strapline ‘We are open’ – but we do love our new one: ‘Clear Thinking’.

We’ve hung our hat on the idea of being open for a long time. It encapsulates our commitment to being accessible, receptive and honest, and it nods to our work in Open Source. Of course, all those things are still fundamental to the way we do business.

But the bigger picture, the complexity-made-beautiful message behind the phrase “Clear Thinking” feels a better fit for the way we do business today. And that’s where the affiliation with the Northern lights comes in. The aurora is Northern, complex, inspiring and different every time. But it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand how it works – you just immerse yourself in the spectacle.

Our new brand makes a confident statement about who we are today, as an established business, with long-standing customers, a body of work that speaks for itself and a pipeline chiefly populated with referrals from happy customers.

None of us knows what the next ten years will bring. But this fresh branding feels like a clear message about who we are and that we’re definitely going to carry on the good work.