Freddie's Facelift: Collins Mailchimp Rebrand

Mailchimp has long been an email platform that, by their own founder's description "does things a little differently" and has begun to rebrand themselves as much more than an online email service and instead as a complete marketing platform.

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They've outgrown just email and have enlisted design agency Collins to conduct their rebrand. The soul of the Mailchimp brand starts with their playful chimpanzee mascot Freddie, who has now been simplified in all black. The original script logotype has also been replaced with a beefy type design that works in unison with Freddie's new look.

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More broadly the new brand system hardly resembles the clean, often stale visual communication of large successful tech companies, a category of which Mailchimp can confidently now include themselves in; with a $525 million dollar annual revenue figure. With numbers like these, similar-sized brands often water-down the look of their brand as they become more corporate. This is no the case with Mailchimp's new direction. The rebrand is fun, fresh and expressive with "Cavendish" yellow used to vault the contrasted black illustrations offscreen. The new typeface Cooper Light has organic, rounded serifs giving it a distinct, yet approachable appearance.

The new style doubles down on being different while attempting to bring authenticity, originality and expressiveness to their new aesthetic. The illustrations have been created by a range of artists both from the in-house team and externally. They've used their own eclectic spirit to bring to life some out-of-the-box interpretations of the content on Mailchimp's new website. A 'learn from your customer's' tab features an illustration of an ear with arms and legs and a character using another's leg as a staircase harks back to a line related to marketing growth. The illustration style is quirky with a coarse hand-drawn feel akin to an illustration in a children's book. This direction is surprising given Mailchimp endeavours to capture suited-up big business to use their platforms. Serious companies, that may be put off by the playful style of the brand. Yet Collins stands by this direction as a solution that "seeks to amplify Mailchimp as a beacon for its customers, a message to growing brands to nurture their idiosyncrasies and preserve what makes them different."

This rebrand is ambitious, it embraces a creative direction that takes a gamble to differentiate itself from the competition. Mailchimp's brief for their rebrand appears to be about growth, how the companies mission has now surpassed just email and looks to tackle the entire marketing spectrum. The creative execution of this can be best summarized in the jungle-like presentations of Collins creative work. The final design executions have been photographed in the midst of overgrown jungle foliage, a clever metaphor tied to growth and their monkey mascot Freddie. It's refreshing to see risky creative directions embraced in a way that truly creates a distinction from other tech companies.