Here’s how Parse.ly’s original 2009 logo looked:
Parse.ly has some fun startup lore from its early days about how we “acquired” this logo. I wrote about this in a post entitled, “Parse.ly: brand hacking”:
Our first Parse.ly logo was designed as a trade for another domain I happened to own. It was the dormant domain for a film project for one of my friends, Josh Bernhard. I had registered it for him while we were both in college. […] It so happened that my friend had picked the name “Max Spector” for his film, and thus registered maxspector.com. The film never came to fruition, so the domain just gathered dust for awhile. But, Max Spector happened to be the name of a prominent San Francisco designer. And Max got in touch with me about buying the domain for his personal website. Acting opportunistically, I offered it in trade for a logo for Parse.ly. To my surprise, he agreed.
I still look back at the logo fondly, though, it being nearly a decade old at this point, it obviously has that dated “web 2.0 startup” feel.
A stroll down Memory Lane…
Every era of tech startups has design trends that influence it.
In 2009, I think our typeface was somehow influenced by two logos, WordPress and Twitter. That kind of makes sense, given how big these were in our community of tech/media at the time. The WordPress logo uses a smallcaps and serifs-heavy typeface to this day:
As for those heavy gradients, shadows, and emboss effects we had with the Parse.ly green colorings, I think that might have come from Twitter; see, for example, this edition of their 2009 logo:
Our simplified revised logo
The first revision to that original logo came in 2012, when we decided to simplify the logo coinciding with the commercial launch of Parse.ly Analytics. That resulted in us simplifying from a complex 7-leaf icon to a much simpler 3-leaf one. It also had us remove “circa 2009 logo flourishes” like typeface coloring with gradient and shadow.
We preserved the custom typeface that Max had designed for us, and coupled it with the simpler icon.
We still had a touch of green gradient in here, but only in the icon itself.
When we hired our head of design, who still works at Parse.ly to this day, we further simplified the logo by removing all gradient effects from the icon, and choosing a friendlier green color which became part of our standard style and palette.
That served us well for several more years. I think this also matched the evolving maturity of tech company brands.
Redesigning Parse.ly’s logotype
This year, Parse.ly is celebrating another year of sustainable growth atop customer revenue. The world of 2019 is very different than the world of 2009, when our logo was originally designed.
In particular, the extreme serifs, small caps style, and washed-out black coloring of our original logotype lacks confidence and affability, despite our brand becoming, over the years, quite confident and affable.
As a result, we’ve decided to give our logo and brand a refresh.
Here it is:
And here is a little style guide snippet to show it in various forms and colors:
What I love about this evolution is that it represents a big change: we have completely thrown away our old logotype. The new type is more open, more friendly, and more confident. The parts I particularly like include the open “P” and “e”, the tight kerning, and the distinctive dot. The color of the logotype is confident and matches the Parse.ly green well.
The icon looks the same, but it, too, evolved slightly.
Click/watch the video below to see the change between the old and new logo:
See if you can spot the difference.
Evolving the Parse.ly icon
For the icon, the changes were subtle and all about continuous refinement.
Specifically: we made the little “leaf slits” a bit more open, so that the icon appears more textured when scaled down to low resolution (e.g. app icons, site favicons, and so on). We also changed the proportion of the icon slightly to better balance with the new type, and tightened the location of the dot.
Those changes are so subtle, you need to blink to notice them. I’ve helped you out by making this video: click/watch this one to see the subtle change to the leaf icon:
I’m really pleased with these changes and I want to thank Sven Kils, the graphic designer in Frankfurt, Germany, who helped us with the brand refresh.
Like all other things at Parse.ly, our brand is a process of perpetual simplification.
This year was special for me because Parse.ly crossed over several important company milestones. This included a 10-year company anniversary (how on earth did we make it this long and this far?), a new office for our staff in NYC (we’re in Chelsea now, instead of Midtown East); and, a new bigger and more ambitious go-to-market strategy, coinciding with the hiring of our excellent Chief Revenue Officer, Nick.
This also coincided with my own personal return to New York City, which is where Parse.ly began before my relocation to Charlottesville, VA for eight years. I’ve come home to where it all began, and just as it’s starting to get really good.
We also have an upcoming website redesign, market re-positioning, and supporting materials (such as explainer videos), which I’m quite excited about.
I’ll give a little preview of our new market positioning here:
We believe the most successful companies in the digital world are the ones with the best content.
At Parse.ly, we built the world’s most innovative content analytics system, which drove the growth of the web’s biggest sites. We took the expertise and data from that success, and we’ve made it available to every company.
Today, every company is a content company. Every marketer is a content marketer. You need to create and measure content like the pros in order to win an audience.
Imagine you had the audience scale of The Wall Street Journal. Or, the visitor loyalty of the NFL. Or, the branding of Bloomberg. What would that do for your business? These companies used Parse.ly to build a content strategy that creates loyalty, engages visitors, and converts them into revenue.
Leading brands like HelloFresh, TheKnot, PolicyGenius, and Harvard University have also recognized the power of content analytics to transform their marketing efforts, by growing their share of traffic and attention.
We have entered the era of data-informed content. And in this era, the web’s best publishers and brands rely on Parse.ly data to grow a loyal and engaged audience for their content. Join them.
I hope we get to start using this logo more widely in our materials as we pursue a web/collateral update through the next couple of months. Here’s to the next 10 years of continuous improvement!