Last year, we invited the neighbours‘ round to our new house after we moved in.

They were polite, said all the “right things,” but they couldn’t help making the odd comment: “Are you sure that bright red carpet with the love hearts fits well with the rest of the living room?” or “The front is a bit, well, different from the other houses in the street.” One, to our horror, even asked:”Are you trying to look like Amazon’s house?

What did you say? Really? How dare they! This is our house and I’ll decorate it the way I like.

BackHug old logo compared with the Amazon logo

You may have realised that when I was talking about “our house” I really meant “our “brand” ? – I knew you would get it!

There’s a reason for that analogy – not all of the comments on our old brand were positive. Sure, we got some genuinely positive reactions, but as time passed the critical comments were the ones that stayed with us. After all “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room” (and yet they said it in front of our faces ?). So we decided to be honest with ourselves and see if we could do something about it.

The first thing we needed to be honest about was what we do. Our old brand came across as very cuddly, like a bean bag, which, to be fair, is how people feel when their back has less tension. But, during their BackHug sessions, what people experienced was the firmness of the treatment, which is key to its therapeutic benefits. What we really offered was technology that delivered pressure that wasn’t cuddly at all, but that made people feel soothed and relaxed afterwards. We needed our new “house” to reflect that distinctive customer experience and the technology that made it possible, while keeping some of the old house’s “fun” aspects.

We decided to keep our name, BackHug, and our very relaxed mascot, Sam the sloth, because they both have that welcoming friendly feeling. That meant it would be down to the visuals of the brand to show our sleek and innovative identity. Which meant that, as Pacla’s go to person for things visual and creative, it was down to me. The pressure was on.

Because ideas come on paper

BackHug new logo 2020 hand sketches for rebranding

When creating a new logo, you should always follow the “focus on one thing” principle (David Airey, LogoDesignLove). So after some good old mind-mapping to start our creativity flow, we wanted to focus on how BackHug’s robotic fingers “press to release stress”. Eeeeeeeasy, right?

By now you are imagining “creative folk” in front of the computer, maybe with a digital drawing tablet and colour palette at hand. The reality is that the fastest way to “draw some ideas” is with your pen and paper (or pencil, eraser and paper in my case). Actually, hand drafts are the closest way for your hand to produce ideas as fast as your brain thinks.

After seven pages of sketches it was time to choose the strongest ideas, draw them on the computer and present them to the rest of the family members in the house.

It’s not all black and white, or is it?

To help the other family members focus on the shape of the new logo, I presented the first digital drafts in black and white.

BackHug vector digital drafts for the new logo 2020

“Which one do you like?”
That would have been the worst question to ask. Instead, I created a very short questionnaire with specific, targeted questions like:

  • “Does this logo reflect BackHug’s unique therapeutic treatment?”
  • “Does it have a sleek look?”
  • “Can it represent a product or service of advanced technology?”

That way we could rate each proposed draft against our final goals.

“That has to be straight forward!”, I hear you think.

Unfortunately, we ended up going to sleep that night with more unsettling questions:

  • “Are we responding to or being guided by stereotypes?”
  • “Can this logo survive if we change the physical technology?”
  • “Can this be mistaken for another brand? (Not another Amazon comparison please!)“

A brand build to last

Most of those proposed logos had some sort of reference to BackHug’s robotic fingers. They are the main feature of the BackHug after all – they literally press the centre of your back to alleviate tension.

But we don’t know what technologies BackHug may use in the future to offer the most effective therapeutic treatment, and so we didn’t want to limit ourselves. After looooooong and careful consideration we decided on our new logo. This was the best option to stand the test of time, because although it does represent “Press to release stress,” it does so without needing to show the robotic fingers.

Presenting the new BackHug logo 2020

Can you see how the “legs” of the letter “K” push over the letter stem (the main vertical stroke of a letter)? And how the “crossbar” of the letter “H” pushes upwards? What about that “B”, where the stem completely disappears to give priority to the curves that push to the right? I know you will notice this all the time now! ?

I have to come clean with you… I had to swallow a little pride at this stage because, although I put time and effort into all of those logos, my favourite option was another one (no chance I am going to tell you which one ?). But in the end, after close discussion with the “head of our family” and inventor of BackHug, we resolved on an option that would express BackHug in a way that would stand the test of time.

We started appreciating the new logo even more when we put together our visual brand guidelines. We saw how it worked perfectly in combo with our sloth mascot – it’s like combining “sweet and sour” for a recipe, the perfect mix.

Now we have bold lettering, combined with an energetic colour palette, and a super friendly sloth icon. Because that’s what we are here in “House BackHug”, we make some serious stuff that improves life and back health, and at the same time, we are also fun, approachable and friendly.

Next time you’re passing by, you are more than welcome to come and see our brand new house, and feel free to give us some comments, we are always happy to listen to a friend ? – but don’t make fun of the carpet!