Changing Archetypes While Pre-Product: An Exercise In Courage

I’m excited to tell you that randrr is about to unveil a brand overhaul.

This didn’t happen because we got bored or because we had so much time on our hands. It happened because we needed to ensure that our first impression on real users was meaningful. To understand the shortcomings of the old logo compared to our evolved product definition, let’s break it down a little:

The mark itself:

The more I inquired as to what people interpreted the mark to mean, the more diverse responses became. New recruits to randrr were often developing their own meanings behind our three overlapping circles; I have heard responses from flashlight (most creative) to an eyeball to citrus. The origin of this image of intersection and clarity actually came from the idea of congregation in public spaces. randrr in its infancy had been interpreted as a semi-social platform for career advancement not just for the user, but for the community.

The typography:

Let’s be real for a minute since it’s just you and me reading this. A small group of engineers (five, to be accurate) will be 100% satiated by the typeface we used in the legacy logo. It’s techy enough to fit in with similar products without being angular and abrasive. And they’re right too - we were all proud to fly this banner while we were pre-product. But it had one critical flaw: it wasn’t human enough.

The colors:

randrr’s legacy colors are really vibrant. The psychology behind them suggests some degree of trust, communication and activity. Not necessarily bad traits to be identified with, but as the brand was sounding wiser, Terry’s vision was becoming more clear to our team...

So when we realized randrr was becoming a platform for personal career growth with an emphasis on human-centric design and strategic, steady progress, we realized the logo was not the real problem. The archetype was changing.

What are you talking about?

If brand archetypes are a foreign concept, it’s probably because you don’t work in advertising or marketing. In those industries, archetypes are used to anchor a brand to a certain image and tone. There are 12 of them and they were all outlined by psychologist Carl Jung. Jungian archetypes help establish your identity in relation to your consumers while playing off familiar characters from the Hero Journey cycle. In this case, randrr was starting to look like step four:

MEETING WITH THE MENTOR.  The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey.  Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom.”

It’s really easy to dismiss frameworks like this in the startup world. After all - the product is the brand in many cases. Look at craigslist and tell me how important brand is to a billion dollar business that uses a stylesheet you can technically write on four grains of rice. But when we looked at a noisy marketplace for career advancement, we realized we need to differentiate by putting the user’s needs on a pedestal higher than any other. Then, the Hero’s Journey immediately comes back into play as we know this way of thinking is effective in developing successful experiences.

So, now we don our archetypical lenses and look back on our brand. Who are we? How did we get here?

The second answer is easy: we got here by thinking we were the Creator archetype.

The creator archetype is a popular one as it is recognizably owned by Apple. And that makes a great case study: embrace creators and gain a devout base of customers. However, there are a few things we want to leverage that make it hard to embody the imagination and expressiveness of the creator archetype:

  1. We want to be analytical and offer users the best recommendations our data science can provide.
  2. We want to have a definitive direction that we feel is right for our users based on what they elect to share with us. That is, we get to know you and show you the tools that are right for you. Most people take employment seriously, so we can’t frame our product as some type of sandbox for creative leaps between unqualified workers.
  3. Our mission at randrr is to use data for the common good. Creators can be seen as narcissistic and this is something we want to avoid. In randrr, all of the user input works together to better the career experience for the community. Every piece of data we solicit is useful and purposeful.

So back to the first question. Who are we?

We are the sage.

Remember in The Matrix when Neo was escaping the building and Morpheus was on the phone helping him avoid Agents by saying stuff like “do whatever you want” and “all of these doors could be exits. Imagine the possibilities”?

No? Oh yeah, that’s because he never did that. He gave Neo explicit instructions and well-defined choices that allowed him to escape the office (whoa, this is a really great metaphor for randrr). And that’s very similar to the sage archetype that we’re embracing here at randrr.

“To Know Is To Grow”

The sage is a source of wisdom and a proponent of education. The sage adheres to a practical system of learning and is vocal in sharing their findings. They are results-driven.

randrr is the embodiment of the sage in its mission to revolutionize and reinvent recruiting. We’re defining a system that is focused on producing data-driven goals for users who seek its knowledge.

The sage has his fingerprints on every decision we make now (even our meeting rooms are named after famous sage characters) and we hope to create a platform that turns every user into a sage by unlocking powers our users didn’t know they had.

If you’re curious as to how this turned into a visual identity, stay tuned for the logo unveiling :D