Building #OpenIndustry: The Story Behind Paystand’s New Logo
Today we’re unveiling a big update to the look and feel of the Paystand brand.
Our new logo marks a significant change in our company evolution and is the result of a comprehensive exploration of our brand. It gave us an opportunity to look deeply at who we are, what we stand for, and where we’re headed as a company.
If you’ve ever done a logo refresh, you know it’s not an easy undertaking. Any time a company takes on such an effort, it’s helpful to shed light on why they decided it was worth doing and the process of bringing it to life.
Read below to learn how our new logo finally came together. I’m excited to share this with you. Enjoy!
The Thinking Behind Our New Look
In order to accomplish our ambitious mission of rebooting the broken financial system, we knew the Paystand brand needed to raise the bar and inspire others to build transformative businesses on top of our technology.
That’s why it took us over a year since we started our initial discussions to finally land on the right design. Our old logo had taken us through our first few years in business, but we had outgrown it.
Our goal was to develop a logo that reflected our values, resonated with our customers, and better evoked our ambitious mission.
After deeper discussion, we realized that’s easier said than done. Since the beginning, Paystand’s mission has always been clear, but we had never taken the time to put the pieces together into a defined narrative.
Capturing our brand’s personality, mission, and values concisely took some thinking. That’s a lot of difficult questions, emotions, and strong opinions to nail down. In the end, we decided to stick to our roots and I’m proud of where we landed.
Our Reason for Being
After all of our conversations, planning, and brainstorms, we finally landed with a mission that summarized what we always knew: we’re in business to reboot the broken financial system.
Commercial finance doesn't need a slight iteration or incremental change; it needs a hard reboot with entirely new parameters and a new operating system. We believe commercial finance as it exists today is a failed experiment that benefits only the powerful financial cartels. It's the natural evolution of a system built on insecure, inefficient, trustless networks and technology.
In contrast, we believe the new financial system is one where trust is built directly into the very infrastructure itself. That's why the blockchain and the principles of a self-policing, decentralized network are so core to what we build.
Standing for what we believe in has helped us create a company we’re proud to run and work for. We create the technology powering the future of payments. To realize our vision for the industry, we must build the path to an #OpenIndustry.
So why did we decide to refresh our brand now? Simply put, because we've evolved. And also because we now have the luxury. Our entire focus the first few years was on building technology and products to usher in a new era of commercial finance. The brand had to wait.
If you’re building technology that isn’t in the critical path, it’s easier to justify spending cycles on external-facing work. But when you’re building technology that supports commercial finance, it’s harder to justify. Billions of dollars are on the line. The technology must be rock-solid and do what it promises. Always.
So, we focused on delivering the best technology to our clients and innovating on the blockchain. Over time, here’s how our company evolved:
- The product evolved from a concept-phase, digital payment processor to the most advanced B2B payment network on the planet;
- The organization evolved from a few technologists with a vision to a multi-national team across North America serving hundreds of large clients;
- The technology evolved to the point of creating entirely new concepts and use cases for the blockchain.
In short, our product has changed significantly, our customers and team have grown exponentially, and our technology has raised the bar for the industry.
And while our brand reflected our original core values, it no longer reflected the maturity of our technology or the boldness of our vision. We knew realigning our brand would help us continue to attract forward-thinking companies to our network. So, we set out to create a new look for Paystand.
Our Roots: Advancing But Not Abandoning
The challenge in developing a new brand identity is taking the company in a new direction while not abandoning the core concepts that matter.
In our case, the genesis of Paystand stems from the financial crisis of 2008 and the tremendous effects it had on the broader economy. Our founding team believed that commercial finance could — and should — be better.
Central to our first logo were two core beliefs:
- Business needs to stand for more than profits and corporate growth. At its most basic, business is still about humans and relationships. The concept of a small business stand evoked that belief.
- Business payments should be as easy as a digital signature. Consumer technology made peer-to-peer payments easy and intuitive. Business payments should be just as simple. That’s why our wordmark was styled like a digital signature.
These two beliefs remain today. So, we needed to maintain those kernels of truth while exploring a more sophisticated approach to our brand. In the end, we decided that our existing color scheme and approachable, simple mark were elements that needed to stay.
Aligning With Our Core Values
After establishing our baseline, we revisited our core values. These guiding principles allowed us to put some parameters around the design framework and also gave us inspiration for several key concepts that ultimately played out in the new logo.
- Impact: We strive to bring positive, meaningful change to the global financial system.
- Trust: We want to bring a new level of trust and transparency back into the financial system.
- Mission-Driven: We are driven by a core belief that commercial finance and the global financial infrastructure can be a better, more open system for everyone.
- Innovative: Innovation is baked into Paystand’s DNA. We’re focused on building tomorrow’s financial system while innovating on the processes of today.
- Openness: We believe in openness and transparency in commercial finance through decentralization, the blockchain, and modern technology.
- Empathy: We understand that our customer’s jobs are not easy and that the existing process is riddled with pain. We take a customer-centric approach to solving the problems that matter.
From these values, we distilled an ethos that became our North Star for the design: openness, transparency, approachability. Our technology and our vision for finance rely on these fundamentals; we needed them to be present in any new design that represented Paystand.
The Right Mix Of People And Technology
Next, we explored the key concepts that are central to what we're building here at Paystand. We wanted a logo that better reflected the digital, technology-based approach we take to solving problems in commercial finance.
- Blockchain: The blockchain itself is both a core technology and a set of principles that we champion. Taking inspiration from the literal and figurative representations of the blockchain gave us a clear direction.
- Networks: Networks are core to efficient technology but also represent the ways in which people and businesses interact. The representation of a digital and human network provided more inspiration.
- Digital: Our belief in a paperless, automated commercial financial system helped guide our design too.
Together our values and concepts provided the backbone for a new visual identity.
Next, we dug deep into our customers’ goals and desires. We revisited their daily lives and business goals, translating them into aspirations. And we did a better job of bringing them to life.
It’s one thing to want to be seen as open and trustworthy; it’s another to actually be seen that way. We asked ourselves: “What do these things look like to our customers?” And we asked our customers, too.
The Outcome: #NoPaper #NoFees #OpenIndustry
In the end, exploring the brand inside and out helped us arrive at something that felt right — It championed our customers, inspired our employees, represented our guiding principles, and lived up to our mission. It was a perfect fit.
At the heart of our brand is our distinctive new icon, which represents our technology and vision. The blockchain is both at the heart of what we do and the foundation upon which our products are built. So it made sense to weave it directly into the icon itself. It plays out in the negative space while also being the inspiration for the shape itself.
We brought in the idea of “openness” by ensuring the icon had no closed lines, representing an open system and an #OpenIndustry. And we layered in the concept of digital networks through the design of lines and nodes in on and off states using full-color and negative space.
The result is a distinctive, strong icon that embodies the best parts of our vision.
We also wanted our logo to show that Paystand is approachable. Our customers — and our relationships with them — matter more than anything else.
We're a different kind of finance company: one that combines the power of technology with the power of relationships. That meant our wordmark could not be monolithic, sterile, or traditionally corporate. It needed to be open, friendly, and welcoming.
We considered many fonts, but none that felt unique to Paystand.
So we developed our custom font that uses rounded corners, sweeping curves, and a non-traditional typeface. We also carried the border-radius through from the icon to the font to maintain continuity and further marry the concepts of technology shown in our icon and the approachability of the type.
The result is a wordmark that feels human and digital, approachable yet strong, and uniquely Paystand.
Our New Logo System
Together, the icon, wordmark, and typography create a powerful, new visual identity system for Paystand. As we move forward in building a more open financial system, our new brand will help us tell the right story.
If you'd like to learn about how we're building a more #OpenIndustry (or anything in this post), give me a shout on Twitter @iammarkfisher. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thank you to everyone who played a part in developing our new logo system by providing input, ideas, and context. Most importantly, we'd like to thank the wonderful team at J.Shaw Creative for their thoughtful exploration of the Paystand brand and their incredible designs.