New brand identity for Nae by Soluble Studio
Bringing about change
Ontruck is without doubt one of the most powerful startups in the Spanish entrepreneurial scene. The founder of La Nevera Roja, Íñigo Juantegui, launched this project three years ago together with other known names in the ecosystem such as Javier Escribano (Tourist Eye), Gonzalo Parejo (iContainer) and Samuel Fuentes (Delivery Hero).
Known for how they validated their idea from zero cost with a Telegram channel, the company’s growth has been exponential. With just ten employees in 2016 and tests in the area of Madrid, the company now celebrates three years with a team exceeding 150 people distributed across offices in Madrid, London and Paris, a network of more than 2,000 carriers and having captured 36 million euros of investment.
If it’s not broken, why fix it?
To anticipate and make sure it keeps working. By being brave and admitting that their brand was holding them back in consolidating the company, Ontruck are an example of how to do things well in this business.
After opening a gap in the market to meet the specific needs of its customers — mainly specific loads and emergencies — it was time to apply everything they’d learnt and offer a recurring service capable of establishing solid relationships. This positioned Ontruck where it deserves to be within the transport sector.
A truck, a tweet and a call
One afternoon in October 2017, Ismael was driving through Montjuic (Barcelona) when, standing at a traffic light, a huge trailer crossed his path with a tarp that read “ONTRUCK” in giant letters. The following day he published this tweet:
Yesterday I crossed an @ontruckcom mega trailer with the giant logo on the canvas and thought, PHWOAH how cool would it be to design that brand.
Javier, co-founder and CPO of Ontruck, responded to that tweet and with that he opened the door for that wish to become reality.
Our partner Máximo put them in contact and a few days later Javier gave us the opportunity to tell him our understanding of brands and how Soluble would carry out these types of projects.
We will never forget those thirty minutes in which, after having presented our pitch, Javier asked the most precise and focused questions that we have ever received. We could not be more grateful.
All this was at the end of 2017. Almost six months later, in April 2018, Carlos Sánchez (@chocotuits) contacted us again to pick up the conversation where we had left off.
After several weeks of many meetings, sitting with different studios and agencies, we managed to define the project that got them to trust in our proposal and we finally started working together in June of last year.
The moral of the story: dedicated time to share and tell your learnings, to take care of your brand and to the people who care about what you do. You never know when it will bear fruit, but it will in the end.
Recalculating Ontruck’s route
As a company, sometimes it is necessary to stop and invest some time to reevaluate the route you are taking. Unforeseen events, new opportunities or new context may make this reflection necessary to reach your destiny.
Of course, to establish a new goal or to draw a new route, it is essential to know in detail the path that has been followed so far and, above all, the point from which you started.
And so we did.
We spent about 4 weeks studying Ontruck. We carried out 24 hours worth of workshops in Madrid and London, where we analyzed the company, we helped the teams to reflect on their perception of the brand and we collected the raw material with which to continue working on the new route.
More than 200 people were involved in the process. We did dozens of interviews and 8 different surveys to know the perception of the brand from the perspective of the users and customers of the platform.
The sessions themselves were extremely beneficial. They created a space where people could share and reflect on substantial issues of the company, things that rarely have a place in day-to-day conversations. This provoked an immediate alignment of all the parties involved and a sense of belonging that facilitated the following steps of the process, now that everyone had had the opportunity to contribute their points of view they would feel that the results were achieved with their inputs in mind.
A new brand for a new trip
After analyzing in depth all the information collected, we focused our work on detecting the problem points and identifying the solutions from which Ontruck would manifest and improve.
We saw that a lot of effort had been put into building a brand in the startup ecosystem, aimed at capturing talent and being aware that the product team that had been assembled was and is one of the best in Europe.
The territory conquered in the startup ecosystem, despite being positive in many aspects, was holding back the positioning of the brand with respect to its direct competition in the transportation sector. Their potential clients first saw a startup rather than a transport company, and most importantly one that could compete with the other consolidated companies in the sector. The challenge was how to reposition the brand without dispensing with what had been achieved to date.
A particular way of doing things
The word startup often comes with negative connotations such as instability or uncertainty. These associations are not ideal when you want to compete with companies who have decades of experience.
However, being a startup has many positive aspects do with their manner of working which is what the the team, the transporters and their customers most valued about Ontruck.
This was the key to the new positioning.
Going from being a startup working in the transport sector, to being a transport company working as a startup.
A brand idea: On our way
English is the main language used by Ontruck. This allowed us to play with the double meaning of “on our way” (being on the way) and “our way” (in our own way) to pick up on the two vital aspects of the company.
On the one hand, their particular way of doing things, which has to do with innovation, efficiency and the technology they use to transform a sector that has been asking for change for years. On the other hand, its non-conformist and demanding nature that leads them to always pursue new horizons and never be satisfied at all levels; as a company, as a service, as a product, or as a team.
A new promise: Smart Trucking
This brand idea translates into a new value proposal that communicates to all audiences, both outward and inward. The concept of “Smart Trucking” was born. Ontruck’s way of competing in the road freight transport sector:
- A transport service offered by smart people.
- A transport service based on data and technology.
- An efficient and optimized transport service.
- A flexible and adaptable transport service.
- A transparent and reliable transportation service.
- An easy, fast and people-centered transport service.
- A friction-free transportation service.
Tools to design from the strategy
When we work on the creation or the repositioning of a brand, we are obsessed with maintaining coherence among all contact points so that each interaction between the brand and the audience is oriented towards in the right direction. For this, it is essential to have a point of reference to help us validate that we are on track. The brand idea and the value proposal was our reference.
To guide the creative work we looked for a series of guides that helped us move forward, specifically the brands personality and a series of concepts that we had to keep referring back to throughout the project.
A bright young talent
To define a brands personality, we often work with archetypes, pre-configured personalities that we all have in our imagination and that facilitate the idea of how a brand should communicate, or be seen, or behave.
In the case of Ontruck though, we were able to identify throughout the project that all the people who made up the team and the spirit of the company had the characteristics of being bright, young and talented.
This made Ontruck brilliant because they were capable of carrying out what was proposed. Even if they did not know something, they absorbed everything necessary to make a difference in a short time, and do it better than it had been done up to now.
Ontruck are nonconformist, alive, with a great talent while still remaining noble in the way they dealt with others. They inspire and can be trusted because you know they will be there when you need them.
Three concepts on the table
Three ideas have directed all the decision making necessary to realize an abstract brand strategy and tangible resources that allow us to activate the different points of contact.
A brand that you see, hear and read
Strategic work would not fulfill its function correctly if it did no have a concrete base. It is then in the verbal and visual identity where a brand takes shape.
The new visual identity is built of a strong, compact and solid typography that wants to promote the efficient, firm and robust service that Ontruck carries out. The very composition of the logo, which suggests the shape of a truck, reinforces the identity with one of its main assets.
In our search for efficiency and solidity, we opted to design a purely typographic graphic brand, without isotype as such, but by suggesting a form as iconic as a truck could be used as a symbol. As the size of the logo decreases, the visualization of the suggested form increases, thus completing its iconographic function.
Akkordeon, an excellent typeface designed by Eduardo Manso, is the one chosen for the construction of the logo and the headlines. It is a typeface inspired by the grotesque of the nineteenth century, but with a novel and differentiating technical development. These characteristics of Akkordeon allow us to reflect both the solidity of the transport company that is Ontruck and the technology behind its service.
The aforementioned typography is accompanied for long texts and elements of UI by URW Din, a version of the famous typography used for signage and technical applications. This version of Din is optimized to work on screens thanks to its high height of x and its weight variability. The technical characteristics of Din, as well as its technical and historical endorsement, make it a perfect candidate to transfer the voice of Ontruck in its digital and physical applications.
A new blue color, more luminous and electric, makes it easier for us to position the brand in territories closer to the logistics and the transport sector, without completely abandoning the digital spirit. The palette is completed with black and white that serve as a base and provide flexibility to the graphic expression of Ontruck.
A system to be more efficient, agile and solid.
The Euro-pallet arose from the need to standardize the use of pallets in order to obtain a better use of space. With the same spirit of standardization and efficiency, Ontruck’s visual system was born.
The grid used is based on the European pallets or EPAL. The divisions of the Euro-pallet are visualized as multiples of boxes and have a distribution of 2 columns and 1 row to 4 columns and 2 rows. The Ontruck grid has the same divisions, but with flexibility, so the minimum unit will be different in each design. This mesh helps us to give consistency to the entire visual universe of the brand and the concepts of solidity and efficiency.
With the illustrations and iconography the style was a flat, 2D finish, angled geometric shapes which also came from the grids. With this the graphic part of the system was completed providing richness and versatility.
A new web: focus on solidity and technology
The new Ontruck website was rethought from scratch to give prominence to the new value proposal and to emphasize the reliability and solidity of the service provided by the brand, both to its customers and to the carriers in its network.
Its design is supported by the gridded visual system of the new identity. This is possible thanks to the use of new web design techniques such as CSS Grid Layout. We aimed to produce something that both customers and carriers could use with ease, with improved and simplified navigation, in line with the efficiency and simplicity of the service offered by Ontruck.
The new website has been published in three languages and with customized versions for each of the countries where Ontruck operates today: Spain, the United Kingdom and France.
A Brand Center designed to be more effective
The brand guidelines have evolved to become digital products with as much its own entity as the product or service it document.
With the appearance of omnichannel, brands now have more possibilities to apply their identity and a greater need to share and host their resources. The brand center that we developed for Ontruck is an online site that documents, stores, distributes and builds the brand system. A living space that grows at the same pace that the brand itself grows and a place that allows access to those who will be applying the brand.
We keep working
Ontruck now have a brand which is aligned as a company and with the positioning that corresponds to them in the transportation sector.
These have been some very rewarding months of hard work, and thanks to the involvement that the Ontruck team has put in and confidence they have had in us from the very beginning. We start a new journey and we are lucky to continue accompanying Ontruck in activating the new brand in the different points of contact.
Just a little more than a year later, we can finally come across trucks with the new brand we have designed :-)
If you are interested in strategic design, verbal and visual identity, physical and digital product design as well as its development, you are in the right place.