A logo can act as a springboard for building an identity around even the most boring products.

Case in point: Gumby is a software tool that we use to deploy apps across the X1 platform. It’s not the only way to do it, and in fact a very few number of people actual use the product. And that’s exactly what we set out to change.

The original product had been created by engineers to server a very specific purpose. Adoption rates were extremely low and became clear to the product owner that it needed a love from UX. As we set out to redesign the tool, I began thinking about how we were going to promote it. How could we make it more fun and more intriguing so that more people would try it?

The Gumby name came from the fact that this product was flexible and in fact it’s tagline, unsanctioned and unapproved by legal, was “your elastic friend in the cloud”. I really liked the idea of a friendly software – something that you’ll enjoy spending time with and that treats you well in return. Cool, that gave me something to go on.

It was fairly easy to sell the idea of creating a logo for the new product, and after several rounds of concepts we arrived at the one you see here. A simple lower-case G, half tucked into a very simple cloud. The colors, the font, the weight and shapes of the lines were all chosen specifically to communicate something friendly.

Once we had the logo figured out we got to work on promotion, breaking our target group up into 3 segments (and of course we had no budget so the ideas had to be cheap!)

1. Promoters: People that would be showing the tool at gatherings and events and generally evangelizing around the company.
2. Potential Users: Mostly internal employees that we wanted to start using the product.
3. Users: Happy users of the product that could be converted to evangelists.

The program was simple: Promoters get T-shirts and cards to hand out to potential users. The cards featured friendly headlines like “Gumby likes you already” and a URL directing them to the product. We hung posters with headlines that suggested something cool was happening: “Rock n’ Roll is dead. Gumby is just getting started.” And for the happy users? Desk pillows! Comfortable, highly visible and definite conversation starters.

Because the logo communicated the values of the brand (even in the context of a small-scale enterprise product) we were able to communicate a whole lot while actually saying very little.