The rebrand comes as Skillshare is poised to enter its second decade of operation, having grown a community of over eight million users.
The platform runs online courses across all areas of the creative industries, from advertising to fashion, photography to writing. It boasts some formidable contributors from the industry, including Jessica Walsh, Paula Scher, Seth Fried, and Seb Lester.
The new visual sees Skillshare ditch its previous joined-hands symbol for a new wordmark and tagline – Explore your creativity – as well as the distinctive use of squiggly lines (intended to express the winding creative journey) in its new brand colour, Wander Green.
“After a decade spent building a learning community for creative enthusiasts, we felt like our brand needed to evolve along with that growing Skillshare creative community,” says the brand’s creative director Jeremy Perez-Cruz of the new design. “Skillshare needed a better way to serve these creatives, communicate with them, and help power their creative potential.”
While Perez-Cruz hopes the new identity will help Skillshare “grow beyond being just a platform and to better embody the spirit of our community”, it is also rooted in practicality, in particular a need for the mark to be legible in all digital spaces, and allow the company to be more consistent.
It was devised through a process of design sprints with both external and internal teams. “With the help of [brand strategist’s] Concept Bureau, Skillshare had already completed the research and insights needed to signal the desire for a brand evolution,” explains Perez-Cruz.
“I’ve personally been specialising in various types of design and innovation sprints for the past few years and find the process incredibly effective. By including all decision makers, we’re able to shortcut the debate cycle and get to solutions more quickly. Clearing calendars and having a focused, heads-down approach frees us from the day-to-day distraction of a traditional workday. With those two barriers removed, all of our energy and time can be devoted towards solving a focused set of problems while simultaneously gathering user feedback.
“We sprinted the second week of September and by the second week of December we had a new visual and verbal identity (logo, colour, type, motion graphics, photography, video suite, voice and tone), integrated marketing campaign (television spot, out-of-home, dozens of performance/social marketing assets, partnership kits), and refreshed products (Desktop, iOS and Android apps). It was a highly collaborative relationship between brand, marketing, tech, executive, content and external design teams.”
At a time when digital rebrands are often accused of being bland, the team were conscious of the need to create an identity that would stand out. “It’s increasingly difficult to create solutions for the many needs of corporate identity – scalability, legibility, flexibility – while maintaining originality,” says Perez-Cruz. “There is a reason that geometric sans serif logos are so widely adopted.
“We went through a lot of identity system iterations during our sprint and kept coming back to the need to make it unique and to reflect the spirit of strange, beautiful, and surprising creative acts. We took it really far in some of those and in the end found a happy medium that best reflected our needs. Specific to the logo, we’ve played with upper and lowercase letterforms and believe the resulting, odd family of character pairings helps us be more of who we are.”