Fabric creates flexible and scalable tools for building the modern business. Rather than asking customers to commit to a long, expensive and complex migration to a platform, they provide APIs that play well with a customer’s current solutions, and enable online retailers and marketers to build powerful branded customer experiences while development teams focus on back-end infrastructure.
Founded by commerce experts, the Fabric team was well aware of the importance of their own branded experience. We worked closely with Fabric to convey their differentiation and relevance in today’s rapidly changing retail marketplace, through their visual identity, a redesign of their website and the user experience of key products on their core platform.
Commerce solutions startup Fabric, challenging large, entrenched players with disruptive technology, needed to quickly evolve its brand identity to better position its unique offering, and then express that new brand through its website and user experience.
Together with the Fabric team, we developed a brand identity that reflects the modularity of the company’s solutions while suggesting the holistic brand experience clients can build with them. Brand guidelines ensure a consistent experience with Fabric, from creative expressions to logo to marketing executions. Their website design has been redesigned to reflect their new brand identity. We’ve helped with the product strategy, information architecture and overall experience to make it more seamless and reflective of the brand values.
Starting from their unique product offering
Fabric had done initial brand strategy and identity work, but the team was dissatisfied with the overall result. It failed to capture the uniqueness and effectiveness of their solution and lacked the collective point of view the veteran team had about achieving success in modern commerce through powerful brand experiences. It also didn’t reflect their drive to democratize commerce, enabling smaller players to leverage world-class tools.
Fabric’s decision-makers and key team members collaborated with us in two workshops, one to establish the brand’s foundation, and the second to explore the visual territory. From there, work toward the final visual identity and governing brand guidelines went quickly, even as an entirely remote collaboration.
Building a Brand Strategy
Our approach to brand strategy is pragmatic. We believe a “brand” is formed by the cumulative experiences of those who interact with the organization (and share those interactions with others). So our focus is less on what the organization says its brand is, and more on how traditional brand elements such as vision, mission and values are actually experienced by employees and most importantly, customers.
The key result of our first workshop was the “Brand on a Page,” which documents the most important aspects of the brand, building components such as positioning and attributes into a persona for designers to bring to life.
That work led to the development of Design Principles which encapsulate the Fabric brand experience and guide all future brand experience work.
The Process from Strategy to Visual Identity
The second workshop’s exercises were designed to transition the brand from something abstract and conceptual to something tangible and alive. This work also included creating mood boards and critiquing the visual identities of other brands in the commerce solutions marketplace.
After the second workshop, a series of quickly-executed review sessions brought an initial set of 20 potential directions for the logo to 8 to 3 to 1, with each round featuring increased fidelity and wider explorations of use. A structured and guided approach to the design process helped the client recognize where their feedback should and shouldn’t focus on during these review sessions. And by referencing the brand strategy they helped create, Fabric was able to evaluate work through an objective lens rather than fall back on personal preferences and values.
The new Fabric logo became the basis for the entire visual identity. It referenced the modularity of the company’s solutions while suggesting the holistic brand experience clients can build with them. The use of “buckyballs” gave the team a design element that could be used in unlimited creative applications, including an identity system for its products.
Finally, our brand guidelines documented proper usage of both visual components and written communication and included multiple examples of marketing and brand collateral from which to draw both guidance and inspiration.
Leveraging the Brand immediately
As the brand strategy and identity work was wrapping up, we’d already begun work on evolving the company’s website to reflect its new identity, and better position their offering within the marketplace. The result was a dynamic, engaging experience that clearly demonstrated the value of Fabric’s disruptive approach to commerce solutions.
Elevating their product
As the project progressed, Fabric asked us to draw on our product design and strategy capabilities to push the bounds of their platform. Through interviews with current customers and stakeholders, we uncovered the most common challenges customers faced in Fabric, enhancements that would help their workflows and ways to make the tools within Fabric more cohesive. We worked with the new CPO on the overarching product strategy and identified where to start to bring this through into the product experience.
With metric insights and recommendations being highly desirable information for customers, we started work on role-based metrics dashboards for Fabric. From there, we reworked their menu structures, and some of their core products, including PIM and OMS, to help their customers better manage their complex product catalogs and order data.
The product work laid the foundation for the Fabric Suite going forward for both form and function. Applying the visual design and design principles to the product designs enabled them to seamlessly express the new brand identity. The Fabric team can now envision their products’ futures through our findings, recommendations and design foundation.
Fabric’s debut of its new brand identity through its website coincided with major financial news for the company. News coverage clearly drew from ideas and content driven by the brand strategy, and supported the company’s positioning in the commerce solutions marketplace.
Forbes, Oct 20, 2020: New E-Commerce Platform Fabric Targets Retail Brands That Have Outgrown Shopify
Crunchbase News, Oct 20, 2020: Next Top Brand: Fabric Closes $9.5M Seed For E-commerce Platform
GeekWire, Oct 20, 2020: Led by e-commerce vets, stealthy startup Fabric raises $9.5M to help brands compete with Amazon
PYMNTS.com, Oct 20, 2020: Retail Veteran Exec Stresses Simplicity In New eCommerce Platform