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Project Profile: The Tasting Team and BARPOP

Posted in Featured, Project Profile, Rebranding, Ruby on Rails

The Tasting Team are a Perth based company that organise and run tasting sessions in bottle shops, pubs and bars. Originally a Perth based service they have experienced massive growth and have proven to be a great success Australia wide. During this period of growth they came to us with an urgent request; they needed a new booking system and revamped website and they needed it quick.

The new booking system needed to handle a rapidly growing number of tasting sessions and staff, as well as have the SMS capabilities that form the backbone of their business coordination. Due to the need for a quick development we leveraged what we know best and built the booking system as a well tested Ruby and Rails app. With some intense tweaking and refinement the end result has become an efficient and easy to use booking system, with a responsive mobile interface for staff, product representatives and clients to use on the go.

One of the less visible benefits from the work has been improved communication. We have implemented automated reporting and communication which has taken some of the pressure off of management staff giving them more time to coordinate. We have also received positive feedback from the product representatives out in the field who are now getting weekly updates and automated feedback about their many upcoming events.

The revamped website needed to work as a portal for both new and existing clients and staff, as well as show off the services The Tasting Team has to offer. We decided on an continuous scrolling design that’s not only slick to look at but quick to design and build.


An important component of the design brief was to show off the small brands and microbreweries The Tasting Team represented.

The Tasting Team Brands

The Tasting Team Brands

It was equally important for the design to reflect the casual, relaxed and professional sessions they run. We decided to integrate photos from The Tasting Team’s own instagram stream into the design.

Near the end of this project the guys at The Tasting Team approached us to design a simple but striking website to show off their latest venture BARPOP, a pop up bar that transforms any space, rooftop, office or event into a licensed bar with a casual atmosphere.

BarPop Website

BarPop Website

The design drew inspiration from the the existing logo and bold colour scheme. It needed to reflect the laid back but professional bar experience BARPOP creates and showcase the brands they have on offer. We wanted to create consistency across all of The Tasting Team websites so used the continuous scrolling idea again interspersed with candid photographs of previous BARPOP events that are pulled straight from the BarPop Instagram feed. The end result is a warm, inviting website that enhances the brand. The clients were thrilled and so were we.

AOL to rebrand.

Posted in Industry Trends, Rebranding

Not to be outdone, AOL is on the rebrand bandwagon. Last time I checked, AOL was neither hip, cool or anything else that they are now claiming to be.

Here’s their old identity followed by the new identity (warning may not actually be a single identity).

(picture sourced from ABC)

(picture sourced from Inquisitor)

I wonder what the outcome of this will be? Once again, there’s a steady stream of backlash, mostly due to the fact that people remember AOL for what they were. I’m not sure changing the logo is necessarily the way to fix it. In any case their old logo looks fine to me, maybe they should have spent money on their service offering and public image instead. Although not according to the CEO:

“Our new identity is uniquely dynamic. Our business is focused on creating world-class experiences for consumers and AOL is centered on creative and talented people – employees, partners, and advertisers. We have a clear strategy that we are passionate about and we plan on standing behind the AOL brand as we take the company into the next decade,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL.

ANZ – New brand and logo

Posted in Rebranding

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Woke up this morning to see the news of the ANZ rebranding and the rollout of the new logo which was announced a few months back. I take an interest in the decisions that lead to a company rebranding or repositioning themselves, and also the followup once they decide to go through with it.

So, the OLD (top) and NEW (bottom) logos

ANZ logo new and old

The idea behind the rebranding was explained in a nutshell by chief executive Mike Smith:

“In recent years, the ANZ brand has become fragmented,” Mr Smith said.

“To deliver on its growth strategy and regional aspirations, ANZ has to look like one bank and provide a consistent experience for our customers and our people wherever they come into contact with the bank.”

Good intentions, but will this actually work? I get the feeling it’s heavily focused on their plans to make inroads into the Asian market. The logo has been influenced by a lotus flower.

Firstly there has been a backlash of iSnack 2.0 proportions, with many people drawing similarities to that marketing failure. I’ve yet to see more than a handful of comments today indicating this is a successful logo. The logo is supposed to represent both a human living in the customers world, as well as the three areas of focus (Australia, New Zealand and Asia-Pacific).

Personally I find the font a little bit off-putting, and much prefer the original. The logo design itself I was ok with, until someone pointed out what it looks like upside down. I would think a bank’s logo is seen upside down quite a lot on teller desks and everywhere someone has a letterhead from the bank.

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Kinda creeps me out. What’s your take on the new logo? I’ve seen a lot of designers that could communicate their intentions in a better way. It just looks half finished to me (even though they spent 18 months deciding on it). The font appears mismatched from the logo itself, and the spacing between the letters feels wrong. I’m not sure why they left the horizontal line through the letters, I guess as a shout out to their old logo, but I’m not sure how that contributes to the overall rounded feel of the new logo.

What does everyone else think?

Two reasons to rebrand

Posted in Lifestyle, Rebranding

I have recently seen two examples of product / image rebranding that have caught my attention. Both for completely different reasons.

The first one is Coca-Cola‘s “Mother“. About a year ago when the drink was first introduced, I decided to buy one and see what it was like. My taste buds rejected it immediately. And not in a “Oh that’s bad, but maybe in a few months I’ll forget how bad and try again” way. It was possibly one of the most horrid flavoured drinks this side of Sarsaparilla.

It got me wondering how on earth Coca-Cola let this slip through the taste-testing cracks. Given their massive customer base, well established other flavours and an already saturated energy drink market, I expected much better. I expected this drink to disappear from shelves as fast as it had appeared.

I was close. Not long after, a “new formula” was announced. Massive advertising and money spent to show that indeed their first attempt was a failure and now it’s much better. But for me, the damage was already done. After both literally and figuratively leaving a bad taste in my mouth, this is one cat who won’t be willing to give it a try again. I’m sure Coca-Cola have picked up plenty of “new recipe” Mother lovers, but I’m not going to be one of them. While you were out, I found Rockstar, and that’s where I will stay.

Note: If your sting loyal customers with a Z-grade product, you’ll probably lose them.

The second re-branding exercise I have witnessed is that of City Farmers. I remember their cringe-worthy song, their cheap looking ads and their country bumpkin image.

However this image proved successful. They are popular, and have found a great market over the last few years. I’ve become a loyal customer of theirs, and have no need to shop elsewhere for any pet related products. They are like Bunnings for pets.

However, It shocked me to drive past the massive warehouse for the second time that week, to see that it was no longer green. It was bright orange, with a brand-spanking new logo. And a much better one at that. I figured their web site would have been updated too, so I checked. It’s one of the better looking ones I’ve seen in a while.

City Farmers, you won me as a customer with your cheap and tacky image, and then you cemented me as a customer with your willingness to adapt and somehow completely change your image better than most companies ever do it. I’m not sure who has designed the web site, but they’ve certainly done well.

Note: Use the right professionals for the job and listen to their advice. Remember, they’re the ones with the expertise.

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