Our grandparents often label today’s society as needlessly consumerist, with “kids these days” throwing out perfectly good objects because they’re enticed by newer, flashier models. Whether you share your grandparents’ disdain or not, the truth of the matter is that for established businesses, a brand refresh can help attract new customers, inject some fresh ideas into your work, or simply maintain your market position.
That’s what 500px, a stock photo marketplace working with a community of photographers, found last year, with the company’s vice president of design Adam Shutsa explaining that 500px decided to rebrand in order to grow.
When it launched six years ago, the platform wanted to bring the “best of the best” in photography to the broader market. Now, with 7 million registered photographers and over 65 million photos posted to the platform to date, 500px has clearly reached a significant user base. However, Shutsha said that the company found that their original logo wasn’t translating to the audience as well as it had in the past as its community grew.
“We did some user research, speaking with current and non users from all over the globe. It became quickly apparent that our existing logo wasn’t legible and very hard to understand. Our users didn’t understand what the logo meant – it didn’t really spell out ’500px’ – so we decided to change the way the brand looks,” Shutsha explained.
While the company knew redesigning the logo was the right idea, there were still some nerves as they did it; after all, it had worked well for six years.
“It’s scary to change something that’s so important [and recognisable] to your brand. We knew that we needed to do this redesign to best represent the brand and what we do. We didn’t just do this to do it,” Shutsha said.
The team had clear objectives in mind before kicking off the project, helped along by the insights it had gained from its conversations with consumers around the world; the team wanted to make sure that the new mark and logo would match the 500px community.
The team worked with branding experts Chase Turberville and Bill Kenney at Focus Lab through its redesign. Focus Lab and 500px spent eight weeks working through 50 different iterations of concepts before narrowing the choice down to two, with the new mark focused on the expertise of 500px in photography.
The new look 500px has received rave reviews from both the design and photography communities, as well as positive reactions from the press. Most importantly, Shutsa said the company is having an easier time talking about who 500px is and what it does.
“We did a lot of research and user-testing, and it was obvious to our audience that we’re a photography company,” he said.
“It was hectic and scary, but in the end I think the logo and mark are amazing.”