Which route should Ragged Edge take on this rebrand? Cast your vote

“Branding is an opaque business” so the design studio is making its process transparent, to be unpacked and scrutinised by anyone.

7 May 2020

“One start-up. Two routes. You decide.” This might sound like the teaser for a new TV gameshow (albeit for a niche design crowd) but in fact, it’s how Ragged Edge are introducing their latest effort to democratise the creative process. For its rebrand of Free, a new property selling app, the studio has come up with two starkly different visual routes, and now – having already presented its first round of creative avenues to the client Ray Rafiq-Omar, it's asking for feedback from you.

"Branding is typically an opaque business," explains studio co-founder Max Ottignon. "You rarely see anything but the finished result and people talk about the process as a linear journey." On a previous project, Ragged Edge got a client to critique early concepts live on stage at the West of England Design Forum, to an encouraging response, so was looking for ways to open up their process even more. This approach wouldn’t be right for every client, “or even most clients,” Ottignon says, but believing this client to be particularly open-minded, Ottignon asked him and "sure enough, he didn't hesitate – he was excited to see how people would respond”. After the first ideas were floated with him directly, the routes are now online for all to see, and you can also comment and vote on via Instagram.

“We were obviously a bit nervous,” Ottignon says. “People are used to responding to finished work, and polished visuals. How would they react to our rough concepts? But everyone – from the design community to other founders – seemed to take the experiment it in the spirit it was intended. We were taken aback, not just by the volume of responses, but by their thoughtful, considered nature. Some people loved the work, others didn’t, but the conversation was always constructive and helpful.”

Ottignon says the process has been “a lovely reminder of the strength of the creative community. There’s a passion for the work we all do that overrides almost everything else,” and a welcome distraction from the torrent of bad news at the moment. As for its impact on the actual work, he says it’s a “good test for the clarity of the ideas. The nature of Instagram means people were responding with minimal context, so it was useful to get a sense of what was landing and what wasn’t. There’s no doubt the feedback has already informed our thinking for the next stage.”

GalleryRagged Edge: Free rebrand, route one

GalleryRagged Edge: Free rebrand, route two

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Ragged Edge: Free rebrand, both routes

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny (she/her) became online editor in June 2021, now overseeing the website’s daily editorial output. Contact her with stories, pitches and tips relating to the creative industries on jb@itsnicethat.com.

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