Customer Stories > How Packt Nurtures Brand Consistency without a Director
How Packt Built a Brand Prioritizing Consistency and Endurance - Superside
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TL;DR đź•’

Branding doesn't matter until it hurts your bottom line. Packt's branding was inconsistent thanks to one-off agencies and outdated brand guidelines. While steadily scaling, Packt's growth was at risk of slowing down because its target audience wasn't connecting with the product—from their educational books, video courses, website and more—it all lacked cohesion. With no creative director and no way to re-engage with past agencies, they found a design partner in Superside.

Headquarters

Birmingham, UK

Industry

Publishing

Subscription

Design Essentials

Background

Helping the World Put Software To Work in New Ways

Packt is a UK-based publishing company specializing in educational books and video courses for IT professionals. Packt prides itself as a publisher that closes the gap between how software was built to be used and how it's actually used, helping practitioners get the most out of their tools.

As the Product Director of the Publishing business, Oliver Huggins was looking for a solution to re-focus their visual brand and create the consistency they needed to resonate with their market. Connecting with pedantic developers and digital creatives, Huggins had to find a balance between a polished brand and a distinct one.

Packt design by Superside

Challenge

Outgrowing Brand Guidelines and Overcoming Agency Burn

Since its founding in 2004, Packt has undergone a handful of brand refreshes. In 2016, Packt worked with a local marketing agency to develop a set of basic brand guidelines as a one-off project. after over two years of scaling, it became clear they had outgrown their brand guidelines—ah, the inevitability of growth.

Good news: you’re scaling.

Reality check: your brand is at risk of being unsustainable and will eventually slow down your ability to build brand equity.

For Packt, this manifested in inconsistencies across their digital properties. It showed up in mismatched, off-brand book covers and a lack of visual cohesion on their website. Brand consistency was quickly fading away because essential brand elements were missing in the 2017 guidelines leading various teams to produce marketing material with different interpretations of the brand.

With no way to re-engage the agency to fill these holes, and no scope to hire a brand manager or creative director, the brand became chaotic.

Packt design by Superside

Solution

A Sustainable Approach to Visual Branding

Oliver Huggins

Superside combines the attributes of an agency and the range of skills of a global company all within a self-service platform.

Oliver Huggins
Oliver HugginsProduct Director at Packt

Packt used Superside to create a more polished, more complete set of brand guidelines. This time, Huggins would have full stack support to execute those brand guidelines properly across all their marketing touchpoints and into their product—helping to maintain the personality of their brand while building on its versatility.

Packt design by Superside

Because Packt deeply understands its audience, through this refresh, they made data-driven decisions allowing its brand to resonate more deeply with its community.

The updated direction of their visual brand resulted in a strong minimalist look with thoughtful, “easter-eggy” touches throughout the buyer journey. The refresh provided the space and direction for opportunities for brand expression that reinforce their authority in software development.

Packt design by Superside

Aside from polishing their visual brand elements, the gaps in their guidelines now have firm rules and guardrails.

Bottom rules

Superside does all the heavy lifting from a design and creativity perspective and then I’m able to bring those templates and frameworks into our internal team and turn more repetitive design tasks into a more streamlined process with more junior designers who can then easily deliver brand consistency.

Oliver Huggins
Oliver HugginsProduct Director at Packt

Subscribing to a Design Team That Feels In-House

Superside is purpose-built for teams like Packt to be able to get 24/7 coverage across 19 time zones from a talented team with global perspectives which means faster response times and more frequent communication.

One of the biggest benefits of Superside is the asynchronicity.

Oliver Huggins
Oliver HugginsProduct Director at Packt

By mirroring the way most global and remote companies like Packt are now structured, Superside feels like a natural extension of the Packt team, giving them access to a creative director, a creative project manager, and a plethora of creatives with the skills they need, without needing to increase headcount or onboard a new team member to their brand.

Packt design by Superside

"What stands out to me is the responsiveness of the team and designers we work with. I could have a request come in from my team, message Magnolia [Packt’s Creative Project Manager] and she’d respond to me in about five, ten minutes so it’s more akin to working with someone within your organization."

The frequency of communication, the ease, all of that.

Oliver Huggins
Oliver HugginsProduct Director at Packt
Results

Packing Quality and Consistency in the Brand-Building Process

With Superside, Packt has a reliable, fully stacked design team that always delivers on-brand because they are the same people who conducted their brand refresh. Instead of working with a third party to create a brand identity and another to execute, Superside enables you to trust that your creatives will uphold your brand’s integrity.

There’s a kind of democratization of the IP that comes with working with Superside that you don’t get working with traditional agencies.

Oliver Huggins
Oliver HugginsProduct Director at Packt

Packt Merch design by Superside

Working within this relationship to produce creative and design provided Packt with:

Speed of production

“Before Superside, requesting creative designs internally meant 10-20 different interactions before we were happy. Since then, there’s very rarely a time where I look at Superside’s first pass at a project and it needs more than a few tweaks and it’s good to go.”

What’s more, projects are completed faster as creatives work on requests even after you clock out.

Quality and brand alignment

Without the design frameworks and guardrails they have now, Packt struggled with customer feedback questioning the legitimacy of new products because of this visual inconsistency. It was difficult to achieve the brand cohesion you need to maintain authority and build trust amongst your audience.

Since then, Huggins has worked with Superside to make consistency more achievable across its physical and digital products by creating templates and image libraries for their book covers. Since employing these templates, that kind of negative feedback is no longer popping up.

Packt design by Superside

Originally, Huggins was the only point of contact, but as their brand grows, so does their usage resulting in more teams being onboarded to Superside to make their own design requests. Effectively, Packt has not only enabled its go-to-market teams to build a consistent brand, they’ve laid the groundwork for brand best practices to permeate into every part of Packt by making good design more accessible.

Active Users

3

Projects Submitted

18

Hours Used

598

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