It takes a village to rebrand an agency.
Well, maybe not a village… but definitely a few Skönsters! After several years of valiant service, we decided to retire the previous Sköna brand in late 2019. A refresh commenced in earnest, but it took a couple of years of hard work in fits and starts to get it over the finish line. We were pleased to launch our new brand – complete with the snazzy new website you’re reading this on! – in July 2022. How did we get there? We gathered some key players to discuss that very question.
This has been quite the journey. How did we gauge it was time to refresh the Sköna brand?
Alan (Executive Creative Director): Sköna has evolved so much since our last rebrand. We’ve grown in our headcount, capabilities, and within the B2B tech space. A brand should reflect its people and it was time to reflect who we are right now – and our expertise as a global boutique agency.
Anna (General Manager, Sköna Europe): We were now established as a B2B agency and had a lot of big name logos in our roster. We had grown geographically and expanded both leadership and disciplines within the company. Our brand wasn’t representing the agency we had grown into.
Jenny (Cofounder & CEO): Not to mention we had a change of ownership and senior personnel! We also really started to lean into brave branding. That felt like it needed a different take.
What about on the creative side?
Ian (Art Director, Sköna Europe): It was long overdue for us to put some time into our own brand. As Jenny mentioned, it needed alignment with our current beliefs about modern brave brands.
Matt (Senior Art Director & Designer): I joined Sköna after the rebrand was underway, but not rolled out yet. From an outside perspective, the old brand was dated and didn’t lift up the work we were doing and our offerings.
Genee (Art Director & Designer): I agree. The previous brand started to feel flat and hard to work with – you could only do so much with it. It didn’t seem to be a good expression of what we were capable of doing as a creative agency.
What inspired the new Sköna brand? What changes did the rebrand make?
Ian: We really wanted to turn up the boldness and de-clutter. The idea was to bring a more streamlined, high-contrast brand to the fore. We simplified our logo to its most core components, then looked at exploding or zooming into some of those shapes.
Genee: We used the same typefaces, refreshed the logo, built a new color palette around these Scandinavian pinks, blues, and greens, and brought it all up to date. It all looked and felt like Sköna – San Francisco and Stockholm combined.
Matt: The new brand is more clean, modern and purposeful. We tried to maintain the quirky spirit of the previous brand but make sure everything exists for a reason and helps elevate our work.
What was it like being our own client? How was it similar or different from our everyday work?
Jenny: It was fun to see our process and creativity play out internally, and to sit down and envision just what we could be! The hard thing was the inability to really focus due to our actual clients.
Alan: Yes, it was challenging to focus on an internal project when we’ve been so busy the past few years. We naturally evolved and adjusted as well over the three years it took to develop and launch our brand, so the rebrand did the same.
Anna: The process was definitely less structured compared to how we handle external projects. Maybe even a bit chaotic! We also have an inclusive culture, so there were a lot of opinions and perspectives to hear. Eventually, we had some space on the schedule and decided it had to be prioritized, so everyone rallied around it to make it happen.
Were there any unique design challenges?
Matt: It was tough to create a brand that’s meant to house other brands and work, plus maintain our personality and have it shine through.
Genee: We also had to balance legacy and contemporary, Sweden and US, minimal and quirky. And make sure all of the internal stakeholders were happy with it. That was one of the more interesting and fun challenges.
Ian: I think we got the balance right in the end – of keeping our quirky soul and still aiming for a more minimal, bold style overall.
Did the rebrand accomplish what we set out to do?
Jenny: I think we now have a brand that feels relevant for the whole organization and represents who we are today.
Anna: I think everyone is proud of the new brand. It was collaborative. It represents the type of workplace we are, and better supports us in both new business and recruiting.
Matt: If you know Sköna, this brand should feel very familiar. I think it does a great job of nailing the warm, inviting spirit of our company and it stands apart from other agencies. We’re still bold and purposeful, but there’s a great balance of friendliness.
Any final thoughts?
Alan: I see the symbolism in our shapes to mean we are all a piece of the whole, and a puzzle piece to our team and to our clients. We all support each other in making the best work we can and being the best agency we can be. That is how the brand resonates with me.
Genee: I think this concept was chosen because it was enough of everything for everyone. But still managed to have a clear point of view.
Ian: Our brand is truly a reflection of us. It’s great packaging for what’s inside. Don’t be shy! Rip it open and let’s create something great together.
Jenny: But given how long it takes us to work on things internally, I’m thinking we should start working on the 2030 Skona brand refresh now!