Well, we didn’t so much “rebrand” as “clarify our verbal brand” — which is an important service we offer to our clients.

We see a company’s brand as divided into two branches: visual and verbal. Oxide is pretty well set in our visual brand (which has remained almost unchanged since the inception of Oxide). The verbal brand, on the other hand, is not something we have written down in black and white. We decided it was a good time to follow our own advice.

To kick off our branding development, we took a staff retreat in Kearney. When we weren’t touring Adam’s city, we spent a good amount of time diving into the Oxide Redox process of “client” discovery: defining who Oxide is, what we do, and why this is the work we’re doing.

Before we met together, Mandy asked everyone to fill out the questionnaire we take our clients through. She had everyone gather up their collection of found images that communicate something about the brand of Oxide (usually the second phase of our Oxide Slides process). And she also asked everyone to consider, “What would Oxide sound like?” This atypical step in our data gathering process involved everyone choosing up to four songs to add to the playlist for our weekend.

Together, we reviewed what everyone had collected ahead of time. And then we went through our Oxide Slides process, narrowing our picks to a matrix of 20 slides with rationale about how some element of our brand is represented in each slide. This is one of the most intriguing things we do with our clients, and it was rewarding to go through it as a group.

Oxide's selections from our own Oxide Slides™ processOxide’s selections from our own Oxide Slides™ process

In the months that followed, we have clarified our verbal brand, and we’re quite pleased with the results. In precisely the same way it works for our clients, defining our specific brand has allowed us to move forward as a company with more clarity and direction — with a clear vision of who we are.

Oxide's selections for the "found images" portion of our branding process — building a unique kind of "mood board" that's conceptual rather than specifically visualOxide’s selections for the “found images” portion of our branding process — building a unique kind of “mood board” that’s conceptual rather than specifically visual

While we often counsel clients that not all of the specifics of a verbal brand will necessarily be used publicly, I’m sharing all of the elements of our branding to provide some additional insight into the process. Below is a list of our standardized definitions of the key elements of verbal branding, each followed by Oxide’s specific answers.

(Side note: speaking of the process elements that typically aren’t made public, I’ll also invite you to download the PDF of our found image selections shown above, complete with the short explanations each team member gave for their choices.)  

Part way through the process of defining Oxide's core valuesPart way through the process of defining Oxide’s core values. (Yes, our work table at the branding retreat was indeed a giant glass fish tank.)

Brand foundation

The who, what, how, and why of your brand that serve as the enduring groundwork upon which your brand expression and implementation is built.

Vision statement
The future you aspire toward — why you do what you do.

We are driven to clarify complex things, create thoughtful design, and use design for good.

Mission statement
Who you are, what you do, and how you do it.

Oxide is a design firm focused on branding, packaging, and web. We believe in clear collaboration with our partners to design uniquely appropriate creative solutions.

Core values
An enduring set of principles that defines your ethics.

Purposeful
appropriate / input-driven / justified

Clear
simple / accessible / straightforward

Creative
passionate / communicative / artistic

Connected
engaged / contributing / collaborative

Exceptional
efficient / distinctive / accomplished  

Brand expression

Built upon the brand foundation, your brand expression comprises the consistent framework for how people experience your brand.

Brand story
The articulation of your brand as a narrative — an expansion on the mission, vision, and values. It’s what makes you tick, what makes you who you are.

Oxide was founded on the belief that the sum is greater than its parts. When we work together as one, we will always achieve a better answer. We’re a closely knit team, each of us working together on every project. And we’re keenly interested in collaborating with our clients. We know that you understand a hundred times more about your organization and industry than we will as outsiders. When your industry expertise pairs with our design expertise, we can create an effective design solution that meets your precise needs.

That’s what our name is about. Oxidation is the process of adding oxygen to any other element — breathing new life into it. The process always makes something new, and something entirely different from what either element was on its own. Oxide Design Co. forms a unique bond with each of our clients, and we create distinct work for each.

Brand promise
A distillation of your brand foundation into an elevator speech.

Oxide is a design firm focused on branding, packaging, and web. We believe in clear collaboration with our partners to design uniquely appropriate creative solutions. We are driven to clarify complex things, create thoughtful design, and use design for good.

Brand slogan
A distillation of your brand promise into a simple, compelling phrase. Often used as a marketing tagline.

Oxide is a collaborative design firm focused on branding, packaging, and web.

We had a great time going through this process — “taking a dose of our own medicine”. The results have been profoundly helpful as we steer the Oxide ship toward our next endeavors. (You may have noticed a lot of this language starting to show up in various places on our website already.)