Mux’s new identity taps into the creative side of coding

The groundbreaking video platform, which has worked with the likes of Vimeo, TED and Paramount, realised that its outdated branding did not align with its future-facing product.

24 May 2023


Creativity and coding are two things that don't always get put together. Often the latter can appear rigid, dense and overly formulaic, not leaving much room for the former. But the truth is, code is a tool for creativity and developers are often creative people. So when brands reach out to developers, they sometimes fail to speak to this side of their personalities, and can end up presenting them with dry visuals and messaging sorely lacking in inspiration.

Mux, a US-based video platform that helps developers with the difficult task of facilitating features such as live-streaming, video chat and on-demand video, fell into this category. Its branding was, as the CEO Jon Dahl once attested to, “stale”, and left a lot to be desired in terms of tapping into the creative side of coding. So the team at Mux reached out to Australian agency For The People to inject a little life into the brand, and help to bridge the gap between their brilliant product and the way that they presented themselves to the world.

“Our solution was built on an important realisation: developers are inherently creative people,” recalls Patrick Carroll, design director at For The People. “They view code as a source of possibility and, like all creatives, find joy in the complexity of their craft. Seen this way, the value of Mux is less about ‘simplicity’ and ‘ease’ and more about equipping developers with the tools to create something truly distinct.”


For The People: Mux (Copyright © For The People, 2023)

This notion translated to a new identity that revolves around the tagline “Built to Play”. Focusing first on the intricate processes that take place behind the screen, For The People’s design team began wrapping their head around “the inner-workings of video”, even down to its smallest processing unit — the macroblock. They then combined this 16x16 grid with motion, to create a system that can move between the worlds of ‘Build’ and ‘Play’ and, in doing so, established a core aspect of the wider identity: an intriguing tension between fun and function.

As such, this juxtaposition can be found elsewhere throughout the brand. This includes the contrast between neutral colours and vibrant hues; in the use of the typeface Rotonto by Supernulla Creative Studio, which “combines rigid, square-shaped counters with round-shaped outlines”; and in the logo, which was originally inspired by Erector sets [a brand of metal toy construction sets] and was redrawn to include slider toggles that “shift” the product between its build and play states.

GalleryFor The People: Mux (Copyright © For The People, 2023)

Ensuring that the new refresh was functional and well-received by its developer audience was a tricky challenge but ultimately key, says Patrick. “Code is a language in itself and we had to learn to speak this language clearly and accurately,” he explains. “We paid close attention to the way code was formatted, how we represented it and even consulted developers when choosing the typeface. Our mantra was simple: ‘Don’t fux with the code.’”

Mux’s new branding is thoughtful, fun and a more accurate reflection of the potential of its product, and the creative capabilities of its target audience. The website is now filled with easter eggs that hint at these possibilities and accentuate the playfulness which lies at the heart of the identity. According to Patrick, the success of the refresh points to the fact that “product-focused B2B brands can be bold and have a point of view.” He continues: “By challenging the perceptions of what developer brands can be, Mux is able to connect with developers on an emotional level and encourage them to innovate and play. We’ve seen other examples of brands that have taken up the challenge and are feeling optimistic about where the industry is heading.”

GalleryFor The People: Mux (Copyright © For The People, 2023)

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For The People: Mux (Copyright © For The People, 2023)

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About the Author

Daniel Milroy Maher

Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.

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