Seattle Publishing and President Jay Stilwell share insights and ideas on such topics as custom publications, the publishing industry, and enhancing and utilizing technology. Published every month, the SP Journal offers tips for everything from managing projects to choosing the right publishing plan.

October 2014

Posted on October 23, 2014

From green to yellow to red to brown, transitioning colors on the trees represent the changes that come with autumn. In this month's journal entry we share about how a two-year rebranding process helped us refine how we view our business and better understand how the rest of the world views Seattle Publishing.

Thanks for reading,
The SP Crew

A Letter to Our Readers

Discovering Who We've Become

By the year 2000, Seattle Publishing had created its own niche market and designed its corporate identity; we were a younger company and as time passed our capabilities and client base grew. Reaching our full potential in the current market required the review of our services, our team, and our clients. The goal was to come up with a message and image that spoke to our core. It was a challenging task, and definitely not something we could do alone.

At the 2012 Washington Bikes' (then named Bicycle Alliance of Washington) auction, one of the last items up for bid was marketing services which included brand review and recommendations for improvement, donated by the SDM Marketing Group. The company had worked with Washington Bikes through their discovery, rebranding and renaming process, which was receiving positive results. As the auctioneer called out bids, I raised my number and ultimately offered the winning price. Soon after the rebranding process began and I hoped that SP was prepared for the critiquing that was to come.

Making the Complex Simple

Through a series of staff and client interviews, the same theme kept coming up, which was that SP helps others who struggle with the publishing process. Additional insight revealed that we help those who have complicated content and need to find success in managing and distributing it - an absolute necessity in a world where content is king.

Whether it is our Gutenberg Publishing System®, our managed content services, or publishing and technical skills, time and time again SP has taken difficult content and its processes and simplified them while increasing accuracy and efficiencies. After reviewing these insights with John Martinka, an SP business consultant, he suggested that our tagline be "Making the Complex Simple." It seemed to be a good fit and explained very simply what we hadn't been able to articulate ourselves before we started the discovery process.

Pieces to the Puzzle

Once the discovery process was complete, it was time to create the corporate colors, rebranded logo and other items that would be part of our identity. After working with multiple variations of typography, images, and colors, SP's Graphic Designer Amy Beardemphl presented the final designs to the SP crew. After much discussion, an icon and font style were agreed upon. Then SP's Production Coordinator Rick Peterson suggested turning the icon upside down; this ended up being the missing piece for making the logo fit with the other elements. This process is similar to how we solve our clients' content problems: by working together and being open to ideas and suggestions that create the best fit possible. It was inspiring to see this process in action and we believe the result is something to take pride in.

Work & More Work

Upon reaching the halfway point of completing of our corporate identity, it was then time to shift our attention to the redesign of SeattlePublishing.com. The first step was applying the lessons learned and providing our message and services in a simple yet friendly format for both desktop and mobile devices. In addition to these requirements, updating the website's content was put in the hands of the marketing staff, which meant less reliance on SP's developers for content changes. We also wanted to shift our message away from how we accomplish things and instead focus on why we may be a good fit for one's business goals. For this task, we asked Angela Sucich, a former intern and a talented wordsmith, to create the copy for the website. After many revisions, edits, and test runs, the new website went live at the end of September 2014.

The Results

It took arduous efforts from clients, lots of hard work from the SP crew, and many talented vendors to complete Seattle Publishing's rebranding. The measured results will be realized with time, but along the way we will continue to diligently practice our newly discovered principles.

Thank you to all those who have made it possible.

Sincerely, Jay Stilwell President