Axe EXBIBLIOSO, or give it some love

March 26th, 2007 by Editor

by Jeff Bowman

Over the past two weeks I have been trying to get my arms around our brand strategy and trademarks. Several aspects of our current approach concern me. First of these is the name and word treatment of the company name: Exbiblio. What the name implies is “formerly a library of books,” or “out of the book.” This is clever enough. Exbiblio, however, is a tongue twisting four syllables so it only works as a company name; not as a product or services brand name to be featured in our communications with consumers. More troubling are the font, color palette and logo as outlined in our style guide. THEY ALL SCREAM GOTHIC . In fact, our font choice is even called Gothic. Our tagline (The Paper Renaissance) doesn’t make any connection with the digital world. Amusingly, it is even more of a disconnect when you consider that the Renaissance included the decline of Gothic architecture.

If there is one thing that we are not, it’s Gothic. We are trying to change the print world by bringing it seamlessly into the digital world. This is cutting edge and very modern.

From the form factor of our devices, to our fonts and logos, to the colors we choose on our web page, our visual brand language should consistently convey what we are about. As such, a small group of us have gone through an exercise to more clearly define this entity we call Exbiblio. Following is where we have evolved to date:

    Exbiblio® Brand
    Positioning – what we offer to each specific customer:
    For people connected to both the printed and digital worlds, Exbiblio invents and provides portable solutions that bridge these media while managing private information securely, bringing rich web functionality to the paper products they interact with every day.
    Brand Promise – What we stand for in the hearts and minds of our customers:
    A conscientious, stakeholder-focused company that provides mobile connectivity between the print and digital worlds.

    Key word:

This is a work in progress and none of this language is necessarily what we will use outside the company. It provides an internal screen by which we can evaluate the consistency and fit of our actions and our external communications. As you can see, our brand promise also addresses Exbiblio as a .com/.org entity.

The next steps are to look for fonts, colors, a tagline and logo that speak directly to mobile connectivity between the print and digital worlds. That appears to be the case with respect to the form factor of our first device that has a very sleek, modern and functional design.

2 Responses to “Axe EXBIBLIOSO, or give it some love”

  1. Jeff Encke Says:

    While I realize the importance of positioning yourselves for the broadest possible audience of users, the name of the company, look and feel, the motto, and even the Gothic font all made perfect sense in light of the original mission of the company. When I first noticed Exbiblio a couple of years ago, it was a company claiming to achieve something almost revolutionary in scale and scope, namely the reinvention of the ontology of texts in terms of their creation, dissemination, and reception by readers.

    The original look and feel of the company, to me, seemed a clearcut allusion to the birth of the printing press. The Gothic font suggested Gutenberg Bibelschrift, reinforced by the Latin (“from the book”). The marketing claim that Exbiblio would literally revolutionize the material life of written works through a “paper renaissance” was pretty powerful.

    I think there’s an enormous market for this product in academia. I myself lamented not having a highlighter-sized scanner while doing my graduate work and even wrote speculatively about such a technology in the mid-1990s. If executed properly, I don’t see how any academic or student could live without a device like this.

  2. Jeff Bowman Says:

    Thank you for the feedback. My understanding regarding the genesis of the Exbiblio name, logo, font an tag line are as you describe. It has all been thoughtfully and cleverly designed. Since my original post the internal discussion has begun to focus on the Exbiblio brand promise and the values we want to convey in all of our communications regarding it. The name seems to works, but the logo doesn’t support it. If anything, the logo communicates “in the book”. The word mark and associated font are quite clean and literate, I like them more all the time. As for the tag line, “The Paper Renaissance”, my interpretation of the feedback I’ve received from most people is that it doesn’t convey the “eureka” behind the company’s technology. One thing for sure, we won’t change any of it without careful testing and lots of discussion.