A History and Evolution
SmartFile has been around since 2009, initially delivering secure web-based FTP management and, over time, evolving into a secure file transfer platform. In that period, our brand has gone through several revisions. As you can see in the image below, SmartFile’s logo has evolved over the years.
2009 – 2011 : Our initial logo was revealed with bright and bold colors that set a foundation for our brand moving forward. A unique font, camel-case lettering and varying colors to separate the words were subtle design decisions that continued to influence future logos.
2011 – 2013 : SmartFile updated the logo with a new font and color treatment. These changes were driven by the evolution of our product and company as we started to grow. You can see a leaf was introduced in the negative space in the trailing ‘e’. This leaf represented a green/paper-free culture as well as the simplicity of our application.
2013 – 2014 : We lost the gradients. There was a slight period in logo and brand design where gradients and dimensionality were very relevant…but that was short lived and we probably overdid it a little.
2014 – 2015 : One problem we uncovered was readability with the previous logo (the letters ran together and the ‘r’ was sometimes lost), so we decided to space the letters for more clarity. We also shifted our color palette to a brighter blue. Another decision we made was to use the leaf more prominently in our logo. We had always used the leaf as a stand-alone icon, so we decided to feature the leaf more with our name and incorporate it into our primary logo.
2015 – 2016 : A slight evolution to our icon as we enclosed the leaf in a circle and used it as a negative element. This was a decision to draw more association with the negative leaf in the trailing ‘e’ and create more symmetry in the design.
2016 – A completely new logo and rebrand to reflect our new direction and business focus. Let’s discuss that below.
Rebrand and Rebirth
SmartFile is continuing to grow as a company and product (we’re hiring all the time, so check us out if you’re in the Indianapolis area).
Our current brand at the time was very bright and whimsical and was more reflective of a cloud-focused company. The rounded elements and ambiguous leaf gave off the wrong perception of where SmartFile wanted to be.
We felt that our brand needed a refresh as we moved forward with our initiatives to further grow our on-prem enterprise file management presence. We needed something new and more mature that reflected our future potential moving forward.
We worked with a local design firm MilesHerndon to help develop our new design. This process included a number of designs and iterations before we landed on our final logo. We evaluated not only the design of the logo but also the direction, focus and future of our brand. It was a great reflection exercise that I believe will help continue to help SmartFile grow as a brand and company.
So What’s New?
Here is a list of the major changes in the design:
Colors – A big change was shifting our main color palette into using more greens as a primary design color (and less blues). We found that in our market of file sharing and file management providers, other companies used primarily blue colors in their brand. To stand out more we have adopted using more greens.
Font – Another change is the font. Our old logo was camel-case with varying colors between the words. This worked great for color versions of the logo, but lost some of the emphasis in the negative version. Our new font uses all caps with varying weights between words. The all-caps helps represent more strength and stability. The varying line weights assists in readability and emphasis on both color and negative versions.
Icon / Mark – The biggest change is our new mark. We moved away from the leaf and transitioned into a more abstract icon. There is a lot of symbolism in the new icon that can be interpreted in various ways, like connections, paths, a server stack, handshake, security and balance. Another hidden gem in the new mark are the two ‘F’s coming together to help form the negative ’S’. These small cues all work together to help create a new mark that represents SmartFile.
Stacked vs. Side-by-Side – The last new addition to the logo is how the icon is used with the font. In the past, our primary logo has always been side-by-side with the icon. Now we’ve decided to shift our primary logo to use a stacked layout. Another small differentiator that helps communicate a different look and feel.
This marks an important time in SmartFile’s history. As we continue to grow, this will be our brand that the world will recognize and associate as a leader in enterprise file management. We’re excited and proud of our rebrand, and, hopefully, this post gave enough insight into not only the design behind the brand but also a little about its influence on the direction of our company.
You can access the logos anytime at our press kit page.
I’m always interested to hear what everyone thinks about our new brand. Please leave your feedback in the comments below and I will answer any questions you have. Cheers!