Established in 2011, originally as RealtimeBoard, Miro is an online, visual collaboration and whiteboarding tool that allows people and teams to work together in real time and across platforms. Based in San Francisco, CA, with offices in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Perm, Russia, Miro counts with more than 2 million users and over 6,000 paying customers, including teams inside Netflix, Twitter, Cisco, Deloitte and others. Along with the recent name change, Miro introduced a new identity designed by The Hague, Netherlands-based Vruchtvlees.
A brand microsite can be found here.
Following the SCRUM method, the identity was developed within different creation sprints. Working together remotely on Miro enabled us to act fast. In the creation sprints, we explored different directions of the identity to create and capture Miro’s brand story. The result is a bright and vibrant new brand that is challenging and supportive in all its touchpoints.
We built Miro on Miro. The infinite working spaces of Miro offered a birds’-eye perspective that helped to oversee the entire process. By doing so, we did not only transcend physical boundaries but were also able to map out thought processes. The infinite workspace of Miro helped us to enhance our processes and take the project team along our thought processes.
The old logo, I believe, was meant to represent a Post-It or a non-trademark sticky note, I guess. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible either. The font choice was cool as a font but somehow totally unrelated to the product. The new name isn’t quite explained anywhere but the CEO does say that it “reflects the essence of our values in one word” and it’s a nice word, so we’ll roll with it. The new logo is good, I think. It’s the first spurless “r” that I like in a while and the shape of the “o” is more intriguing than usual. The angled cut of the stems is what I’m not sure about — they are both distinctive in a good way but distracting in a bad way. I’m also undecided if the rationalization of the angles as being the degree at which Miro’s offices are in relation to one another is laudable or laughable but, hey, it’s a simple wordmark with a little more personality than is expected or typical from an online platform.
The building blocks of the brand form the basis for a visual language consisting of four ‘collaborative characters’. Each character speaks its own visual professional language and illustrates one of the key features of the Miro tool. They are not static but can transform on their own specific principles of transformation. Together they get every job done.
The characters on their own are cheerful and dynamic. They can be used to tell a story, convey feelings or amplify meaning. The characters can also be used as vibrant patterns to easily brand billboards, posters or landing pages. Combined with illustrations, the characters are more to the background allowing the content to take center stage.
The coolest aspect about the identity are the abstract, animated shapes that at first I thought were gratuitously random — and even then I liked them — but that, as I was preparing this post, I learned that they are abstract representations of “M”, “I”, “R”, and “O”. When animated they are entertaining and engaging and in static form they provide interesting visual anchors for the applications and illustrations.
An online tool asks for readable and functional typefaces that work well on different systems, resolutions, and devices. We found a perfect match in the typeface ‘Spoof’ for illustrations and headers with loads of personality. For more practical use, the ‘Formular’ font comes into play. Long-reads and blog posts are set in the elegant ‘Tiempos’ typeface.
The type combination is quite nice, hitting on a distinctive mix of quirkiness and functionality.
The color palette uses colors that are named ‘bold’, ‘outspoken, ‘passionate’, ‘human’ and ‘expert’. Within various combinations, the colors form different storylines.
The range of illustrations is really great and if you click through their website you’ll see them bigger. I like how they use the characters as backgrounds and can then overlay a couple of different styles on top of them that create a consistent look. The grainy shading is a cool addition to the otherwise flat approach.
Not much in terms of applications but I can see how easily this plays out in print and online with the shapes taking the lead. Based on the billboard though (and the animated banner somewhere above), the logo looks almost like an afterthought… like “Oh, we need to let people know what these banners are for, better put the name of the company on them”. Overall, this is a fun and techie redesign operating within the comforts of SaaS-y aesthetics but with a little more visual depth than usual.