An interview with Saffron’s branding experts

With a new office and new website, the past few months have been a busy time for Saffron! To top it all off, we’ve also introduced new brand guidelines. Two of our team members, Sonja Gebetshammer and Carina Weingast, have been charged with updating Saffron’s branding, and they’re here to share their insider knowledge about how they’ve transformed the Saffron brand.

Hi Sonja, before you started working on this project, were there any particular brands you admired?

[Sonja]: Whilst I’m not a fan of Apple’s products, their success is a testament to the impact of a great brand. I also think Red Bull is also an example of great branding.

What about these brands captured your attention, and how did you try to incorporate these elements into Saffron’s new branding?

[Sonja]: With Apple’s logo, you just see this apple with a bite taken out and you can instantly identify the company. It’s such a minimalistic but powerful logo.

Red Bull captured my attention because they know where to place their brand to maximise its impact. They sponsor music and sporting events, and know exactly how to target a young audience. They know who they want to appeal to, and this is an important first step. Colour is also important to Red Bull as the silver, red and blue mirror Saffron’s own approach to orange. We wanted to keep this focus on colour.

Why do you think branding is so important?

[Carina]: Branding helps Saffron build a strong public image and strengthen customer loyalty. Saffron’s branding is its public face. People might not always have the time to look at the content we put out in depth, but our branding should stop people in their tracks and encourage them to have another look.

[Sonja]: That’s true! But branding also has an impact on internal processes. There’s more to branding than just putting a logo on a page. The specific rules we’ve introduced regarding how work should be done and how documents should be presented gives Saffronites a clear idea of what s/he is expected to present to clients. This speeds up working processes and means that they’re streamlined, presenting an image of continuity across the board to potential and existing clients.

When working on this project, have you encountered any challenges when it came to designing or communicating your designs?

[Carina]: Yes indeed, there were a few challenges. The guidelines needed to be versatile, so I faced questions like: Which topics are relevant when creating the guidelines? How detailed should they be? I think that details are important, but only to a certain extent. There should be still a place for creativity and freedom in all activities involving Saffron!

Obviously, Saffron is known for its bright orange branding – how do you strike a balance between using what people are familiar with without compromising on creativity?

[Carina]: Orange is still the primary colour as it has always been in the past. Even if you can only see the orange colour at a conference or on a social media page, people in the learning technologies industry know that it’s Saffron!

However, we wanted to add some more colours to the colour palette to show that Saffron can be diverse and fun- just like our elearning! Take a look at Saffron’s website to explore our wide range of powerful colours used.

Why do you think it’s important for new starters at the business to have a good idea of branding?

[Sonja]: They need to know how they should do their work and what’s expected from them. For example, when they write an email, they need to know which font, colour and signature they should use. Only if every employee is aware of these guidelines that a consistent appearance of the Saffron brand can be guaranteed.

Sonja, which instructional design techniques did you find particularly helpful to get learners onboard with the Saffron brand?

[Sonja]: I designed an elearning course to give learners a clear idea of why they should apply the brand guidelines. Often, we don’t realise the power good branding can have, so explaining rules through scenarios is a good technique. For instance, at the beginning of the brand guideline elearning course a scenario of what could happen if the rules are not applied is given. This shows the learner the importance of being aware of them.

Carina, when people are bombarded with branding through email footers, app icons and Twitter cover photos, how can you make sure that your branding can be used in any way?

[Carina]: We created a brand guidelines ebrochure where everyone can look up fonts and design assets. We didn’t just create a document, but a whole folder which includes all fonts, templates and much more to make life easier for everyone at Saffron.