apinity GmbH was born out of the acquisition of Syncier Marketplace by Munich Re. This change and newness gave our team the chance to create a new brand that better reflected who we are and what we stand for.
Our company houses two products – apinity Exchange and apinity Marketplace. apinity Exchange allows companies to quickly launch their own branded API marketplace to manage and distribute their digital assets, while apinity Marketplace is a place for consuming and providing world-class APIs for the insurance industry. Basically, our platforms help businesses to optimize their operations in terms of APIs and unleash the power of the API economy.
Google design sprint as a foundation
To tackle the challenge of defining a new brand, our design team opted to use the Google design sprint framework. Using Google’s hands-on methodology, you’re meant to work as a team to go through a series of steps. These steps help you better understand the foundation and direction of your brand and allow you to agree on your goals with different stakeholders.
Google design sprint steps:
Creating a 20-year roadmap
Solidifying the what, how, and why of your business
Identifying your top 3 values
Identifying your top 3 target audiences
Completing a brand personality exercise
Creating a matrix of your competitive landscape
Design sprint ideas
The beginnings of the apinity brand’s look-and-feel
Steps 1-4 were very interesting exercises, but step 5 is where we started to get the first real idea about our brand and begin to define our visual direction. During the brand personality exercise, we used sliders to determine where we wanted our brand to fall on the spectrum of different characteristics (see image below). Each participant of our workshop has been asked to vote on what they envisioned for the future of the brand, then took an average of the responses to reach a conclusion.
Brand personality slider
Following this, we began to play around with color schemes, forms and shapes, using Pinterest and other visual tools to build up mood boards that matched the brand personality we had defined. We then pitched these mood boards to our colleagues to see what resonated with the team. The color selection below was our final choice.
Mock-ups and iterative design tests
The company name
Finding a company or product name can be a pretty long and exhausting process. It’s difficult to find something that embodies the personality of your brand, isn’t already used, and has options for available domain names. Additionally, it’s difficult to get a group of people within a team to agree on which name options they like best.
We approached the naming task by hosting workshops where we invited different groups of people to brainstorm, pitch their ideas, and vote on their favorites. Following this, we would do a legal and domain name review of the top choices. After a long, albeit interesting, process, our team landed on “apinity”: the first part being API – the core of our business – the second -nity coming from an abbreviation of “infinity”: because APIs can be embedded and multiplied to create infinite business value.
“apinity: the first part being API – the core of our business – the second -nity coming from an abbreviation of infinity.”
A strong and unique logo is a fundamental part of any corporate identity. Creating the logo felt like a natural process. Our team explored many different options, but ultimately decided to pull the letter “a” from our new company name and play with round, organic shapes to bring out the brand’s playful personality. Below, you can see some of the logo variations we explored before landing on our final design.
Some of the earlier visual explorations of our logo
Our final logo, inclusive variations
In a following creative endeavor, we experimented with the logo shape to see if we would be able to use it in different ways. We tested versions with an outline only, a filled solid shape, an image in the shape of the logo, and a 3D version. The journey also embraced the transformation of the logo into more abstract shapes. This led to the creation of repeating patterns, unlocking new possibilities for their application in a range of graphical contexts. In doing this, we were able to determine that our logo offered many playful design options that could be used to strengthen the brand (see examples below).
Breaking down core elements into a design playground to explore the brand adaptability
A brand is never finished. We are still working on refining our brand’s tone of voice and honing our corporate identity guidelines. However, the progress we made throughout the Google design sprint process, our company naming workshops, and early brand explorations has helped us to build a great foundation and to get every stakeholder on board with our vision.
Although there is still a lot of work to be done, the feedback within the insurance industry has been very positive so far and we are quite proud of what we’ve accomplished.
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