thirteen23. Refreshing the thirteen23 brand.
thirteen23 needed a new website to show off our work and process to prospective employees, clients, and the design community.
After working at thirteen23 and staring at our website for four years, I was eager to get us something that would feel more consistent with the work we were doing. While I wasn’t the only person who was ready to update the website, I was the only person who convinced my boss that there was no good time to redo a website, so we might as well do it now. He bought it.
A brand that feels like us
As I got started, I realized that this was going to entail a little bit more than just updating our website with new case studies. I really wanted to give us an entirely updated brand language that would feel more bold and modern, that could be expanded across print and digital, and most importantly, that would fit in with who we are as a studio.
Small things first
To start, I took a swing at reworking our typography and color palette. My first Creative Director had once explained thirteen23's character to me as "smart kids, but the ones that are fun to hang out with" and that always seemed about right. Eventually, I settled on a type lock-up and set of colors that had that "smart kids" feeling, but felt flexible enough to work for all of our different needs.
The Gold Line
One thing we were sorely lacking was a hero element we could re-use to create some consistency throughout our new design assets.
I had always loved the chart past thirteen23-er Tate Strickland had come up that we use to graph the different polarities within our personalities. I decided to take the lines generated in this exercise and expand them across our brand elements to give us something that felt uniquely thirteen23.
Owls and rabbits
In addition to our smart kid persona, thirteen23 had always had this interesting feeling of mystery and magic attached to it (probably because our boss doesn't tell anyone what the name means). I wanted to create some brand illustrations that mimicked that feeling, while also representing both our attention to craft and our eye on the future. These woodcuts overlaid with variations of our gold line gave me the "art meets technology meets tarot card" vibe I was going for.
Creating the site
After establishing the brand language, I got started working on the website. I focused on creating a site that felt clean and modern, while trying to avoid choices that would quickly date themselves. I also left us lots of room for large imagery so we could better show off our space and our culture. Check out the full site here.
Expanding the brand
The most exciting part of working on the website and brand refresh has been guiding my coworkers as they take the new brand language and extend it to build more awesome stuff for thirteen23 (well, except for the Dolly Parton koozies, those are all me).