Buildout Branding Director Sonni Conway breaks down how her team redesigned our new logo and how a brokerage could approach the process.
Why is it important for your brand and your logo to evolve over time?
Sonni: Your brand is your company. It’s everything you do: your logo, your marketing, your customer service. [Buildout CCO] Kris loves the quote that “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
When I worked in a brokerage, if prospects weren’t a direct referral, their first impression of us was through our logo. It’s the first thing they see on a website and it represents the level of quality they’ll experience working with you and your company.
That’s why your logo has to grow with you. We’re not standing still as a company—Buildout gets better every day. So the logo we started with originally doesn’t necessarily match everything we are as a company now.
How did you decide that now was the right time for Buildout to update our logo?
Sonni: We follow design industry trends and best practices pretty closely, and we saw that most companies released new versions of their logos alongside big moves for their business: the release of a new product, a new direction for the company, or in response to a big change in the industry. We’d had the idea for a while, recognized we were in that moment and got some great feedback from our leadership team that pushed us into action.
So you decided to tackle the logo update. What did your first steps look like?
Sonni: You have to ask what you want your logo to say. What do you want people to feel when they see your logo and do you feel like your current logo lines up with those goals? Then it’s all about taking those feelings and turning them into an objective list of things you can actually work on.
We felt like our current logo wasn’t inviting enough. It was too sharp, had some technical design issues, a muddy color, and didn’t fully represent who we are as a company any more.
Once we knew what we were trying to tackle, our team started by creating a benchmark for our industry—we looked at more than 40 logos in the CRE sector, plus some other B2B companies and brands we tend to use for inspiration. We evaluated their logos around basic design principles and polish… how well they communicate visually. How did they use color, icons, and typography? Then you compile all those trends and see how well your logo aligns with them, and how you’d like it to stand out.
What are the biggest lessons you think a brokerage could learn from Buildout’s logo refresh process?
Sonni: You really have to decide what problem you’re trying to solve in updating your logo. Maybe people are having a hard time associating with your brand, there’s a technical issue that makes your logo hard to read, or your logo isn’t standing out amongst your peers. Maybe there are a lot of hexagons in your industry.
We went with a refresh of our logo instead of a full rebrand because we wanted to elevate the pieces that were already working and continue to build upon the brand recognition we’ve earned with brokerages. Ultimately, these decisions are all about the audience you’re trying to serve.
Even though we don’t always look to CRE for our design inspiration, our design choices are always centered around communicating with the people inside our industry. We wouldn’t want a commercial broker to see our logo and not be able to identify with it.
When will we get to see the new logo?
Sonni: Soon, but I can tease it now! The new logo is friendlier—more approachable and modern. It symbolizes positivity, upward movement, and advancement and stands out from other logos (or hexagons) in the industry. And it looks great on all the new swag we’re planning for conferences!