As your favorite apps add new features over time, it’s not totally uncommon for them to change their look and feel, too. Starting today, you’ll see brand new blue icons for ShopKeep Register and ShopKeep Pocket when you update to the latest versions on the App Store or Google Play, and when you download our new ShopKeep Pay app. We changed our app icons so that they’d look fresh and more cohesive and fit better into our new overall brand direction.
If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Changing the look and feel of an app can raise questions. Remember when Instagram changed their old icon to the magenta one it is today? What was “wrong” with the old icon? Why change something that’s become so familiar and recognizable?
When building a business, it’s important to make sure that all of your touchpoints reflect your values and your community. That includes visual elements like logos, fonts, colors, and icons. In Instagram’s case, they felt that their vintage-looking camera icon from the early 2010s no longer represented what their product and community had morphed into by 2016.
Similarly, here at ShopKeep, our Brand team has been working on making the images on website, emails, social media posts look and feel bright, fun, and more joyful. While our old app icons certainly got the job done, we felt that they didn’t tell the right story of who we are, what we stand for, and where we’re headed. We wanted our new icons to portray each app as its own distinct tool, while also making it extra clear that they both fall under the ShopKeep umbrella.
While your eyes and fingers adjust to our tapping our new icons on screen, we decided to give you the full story as to why we decided to mix things up. We talked to Rayna Mengel, our lead visual designer, about how we changed our icons and why building a strong visual identity is important for businesses of all sizes.
SK: What prompted the icon change?
RM: Over the past few months, the Brand team at ShopKeep has been working to update and unify our brand. As part of that, we wanted to make our app icons more modern and as well as cohesive as a set. The app icons we had used for years served their purpose, but the Register and Pocket apps looked very different from each other, and different from where we are headed with our branding.
Tell us a little about your process. How did you decide on the design for the new icons?
For the work I’ve been doing on our overall brand refresh, I’ve pushed us towards a brightened color palette. It was important to incorporate that fresh energy in our app icons as well. Additionally, as we plan to roll out new products, we want to choose a format for our app icons that would allow for expansion in the future. The format we eventually landed on keeps the familiar ShopKeep hive icon, but also includes the names of our flagship apps within the icon, to make them more easily identifiable on your device. Register and Pocket now share a cohesive and distinctive blue color scheme, with potential to expand to more products beyond our new Pay app- while maintaining the same design structure.
Which brands or other icons inspired you?
I love what Uber has done with their app icons. Uber has a wide variety of product offerings (Uber, Uber Eats, Uber Driver), but the icons are designed in a way that makes each product distinct, yet part of the same set. As a designer, I obviously am a big fan of Adobe. Their icons have been a part of my computer desktop for 15+ years, and it’s been amazing to watch how their iconography has evolved to include so many new products and evolutions. The company has expanded, acquired new software, and had so many iterations- but they’re always distinctively Adobe!
How do these new icons improve the overall experience for ShopKeep customers?
These new icons show our merchants that we’re always working to improve and evolve for whatever comes next for their business. We aren’t the same POS company we were 8 years ago, 2 years ago, even 2 months ago. This is a part of our evolution and modernization as a brand and as a company. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be ready for change. For ShopKeep, that means modernizing our look, but also adding important features for our merchants to keep their business running.
How are icons connected to overall branding?
App icons are the main touchpoint that a lot of our customers have with us on a daily basis. Opening a ShopKeep app is what our merchants do every day when they open their doors for business. It’s an important moment that we want to be cohesive with the rest of the ShopKeep experience – which we’re working to improve and modernize every day.
How does a company’s visual identity help it in the marketplace?
It’s a first impression for customers. I recently ordered pizza from a restaurant, and when I walked past the restaurant the following day I was surprised to see what their sign looked like. My boyfriend (who is not in the creative field) actually commented, “I thought that place was for kids because of their sign. I can’t believe that’s where we ordered that amazing pizza from.” This goes to show that something as simple as a font choice on signage can have a direct effect on the way you’re perceived as a business.
What advice do you have for small business owners who are working on developing a visual identity and brand?
Figure out who you are first. Is your business playful? Serious and professional? Do you want to be known as a VIP experience? Think about who you want people to know you as, and use that as a jumping off point. It might be related to your mission (are you focused on organics and farm-to-table?), or it might be how you want to stand out amongst the other coffee shops in your town. Figure out what makes you unique and keep that in mind as you start to make visual decisions. Does this logo portray who I want to be known as? Or does it make me look less professional? How will this color scheme on my website make customers feel? If you keep your identity at the forefront of your mind, it will be an easier process to make your brand cohesive and uniquely ‘you.’
ShopKeep Register and ShopKeep Pocket are available for download from the App Store and Google Play.