Established in 2010, Format is an online platform for photographers, illustrators, designers, and other creatives that makes it easy to build portfolio websites without writing any code. This week, Format introduced a new identity designed in-house.
“Being an inspiring artist is both a noble pursuit and prestigious accomplishment. Our new slogan—Few Can Do What You Do—is about acknowledging this greatness; the greatness of those who have chosen to pursue their dreams by working in a creative industry. We want to empower visual artists, celebrate their uniqueness and help them succeed,” explains CEO Lukas Dryja.
To bring this message to life, the company has launched a quirky multilayered campaign that reflects the vast creativity of its community. A tongue-in-cheek video series calls out the all-too-familiar truism that creatives think they’re better than everyone else, simultaneously poking fun at and applauding the tribe. Each of the five shorts spotlights a boastful creative and a bizarre set of activities that they’re better at than most, because, few can do what they do. With the campaign comes a new logo, visual identity and redesign of Format’s portfolio-building platform, its most significant update to date. Hundreds of hours were spent gathering user feedback, designing and coding to deliver a more intuitive and powerful platform that looks and feels sharper, cleaner and simplified.
Format provided text
I had not heard of Format before and if I had, I probably wouldn’t have thought much more of it based on their old logo alone, which was as dry as an erase board would be if it were someone’s portfolio website. The old logo maybe had the right idea of being simple and unobtrusive to allow the service to be the main attraction but it was completely forgettable. The new logo achieves what the old one set out to do but in a more confident, interesting, and memorable way. It’s still just a wordmark but every letter stands out. Typeset in Px Grotesk — in case you didn’t have enough of it from yesterday’s SSE post — the logo amplifies the font’s horizontal slabs with a custom “m” while making it more unique and ownable. It’s a cool-looking wordmark that is a perfect fit for the creative audience but it’s also not super weird that it might alienate the more conservative user.
The identity is heavily on the hipster nouveau side of things — harsh color combos, monospace-ish font, random shape arrangements, gradients — that, in a way, instantly says “Guys, over here! We are creative!” which is a little grating if you can see what they are going for but, ultimately, it does manage to convey a much groovier aesthetic than something like Wix and a less corporate mindset than something like Squarespace — neither reference is meant to be a slight, just pointing out similar services that occupy different ranges of the spectrum.
What ultimately won me over on this project is the low key campaign that has an offbeat sense of humor in taking the piss out of creatives with a series of slightly despicable yet lovable individuals. The budget for these was just enough to display some decent production values but they are mostly rough around the edges (in a good way). The tone-on-tone-on-tone of the clothing and the background are particularly good in establishing the deadpan approach while the copywriting and voiceover are on point. Having never heard of Format before, even though they have been around for almost seven years, this has certainly made me take notice and I’m fairly positive I won’t be the only one. Despite some of the too-cool-for-school graphics what this campaign and identity achieve is to say to creatives “We are on your side” while giving their in-house design team a fun foundation to work from and establish a more defined presence for the company.