Sam Martín has been managing VSN’s branding for more than four years. Born and raised in Terrassa (Barcelona), he focused his university studies on UX/UI, graphic design and web design, specializing in branding and usability. After different experiences in other companies, Sam arrived at VSN to boost the corporate image and user experience of its products, along with improving impact and presence in digital environments. In this article, he details all the processes he has undertaken so far.
Question: After more than four years, How has the company’s branding changed?
Sam Martin: It has been a progressive change. In the beginning, we realized our branding used complex and very techie designs. Obviously, we were aware that we were a software company and that we couldn’t simplify everything. However, we tried to create a connector wire using vivid and more conceptual images combined with solid and creative slogans.
In addition, we believed it was necessary to boost our digital branding, which is our main focus nowadays. We focused on this strategy and, step by step, we transformed VSN’s branding. I think we’ve created an esthetic consistency and a cleaner, younger and modern image that fits with the company’s values.
Q: You started with the website, how was this process? What did you change?
S: That’s correct! It was my first big project at VSN and an enormous professional challenge. The website of a technological company is the front face and introduction letter for the clients, partners and all the industry.
I wasn’t alone and the entire team participated in this process. Thanks to them, we carried out a deep analysis of the design of other websites. From this point, we identified what was useful for us, and we started developing our idea.
The result is a cleaner, simpler and more consistent website. We used to have a page with black as the primary color, very technical language, and poor navigation. Now, we have a clean white website with an expanded chromatic range and direct and simple slogans. Furthermore, we put some order into our products and solutions to improve the user experience. All these factors represented an impulse to our branding.
Q: And then, the new logo. What changes did the old one require?
S: VSN is more than 30 years old. Our logo was known and recognized in the Media & Broadcast industry but didn’t fit with our new branding. It needed more strength and was limited in some respects. For example, we always needed to use the acronym of VSN.
We needed a step further with a visible and multipurpose logo, adaptable to physical actions like our trade show booths and digital environments. I believe we achieved this goal with the new logo.
Q: How was the process of creating the new logo?
S: It was a slow process, as we knew everything was at stake. The change affected not only our corporate image but also our products. In the first drafts, we took a conservative path similar to changes made by other companies. Very soon, we realized we needed something different. We created more than 60 drafts from paper and pencil, then we selected some finalists that were digitalized and, finally, we picked up the winner.
To avoid a radical change, we tried to preserve and simplify some esthetic points from our old logo. We removed the tagline and bet on a conceptual and straightforward geometric shape, open to different uses and interpretations. We decided to use a visual typography to add strength to the logo.
Q: However, the logo and the website wasn’t your only projects. Did you also participated in the product design?
S: We achieved many advances in VSNCrea but also on our MAM system, VSNExplorer MAM. Hand by hand with our Product Manager, Toni Vilalta, we set the goal to achieve an improved user experience. We want a fresh and clean image for our products, with simple processes and, above all, consistent with the new branding. It’s clear that this is a continuous work that never ends, but we can say that we have achieved significant advances so far.
Q: As a branding professional, which are the keys for you for a great design?
S: Since my early days as a designer, I always have two guidelines in my head: “Less is more” and “a picture is worth a thousand words”.
Personally, I believe that consistency, simplicity and empathy are the keys to a good design, plus having clear the concept and message to convey. At the same time, it is essential to identify the target of the design. I always try to add that emphatic touch because, in the end, the public needs to identify themselves with the design.
In the current society, we are all consumers and we all know that a consistent and honest branding gives us confidence in something unknown. Choosing a good typo, picking up the right colors, achieving visual harmony and usability or just giving a hierarchy to our content are small actions that create a successful branding. Therefore, the visibility of our company will be better and notorious in comparison with the competitors.
There is no math formula for this. It’s all about daily work, daily lessons, and always keeping in mind that the design is the silent ambassador of your company and needs to be valued.
Q: Finally, which are the future challenges for VSN’s design?
S: Our current reality is that VSN branding has nothing to envy from other companies with endless resources and we are proud of that. The key for the future is to keep that quality and continue building an innovative and clean image. The challenge is to involve all the company in achieving a consistent work.
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