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

Case in point: Gumby was a software tool used to deploy apps across Xfinity’s X1 platform. It wasn’t the only way to do it, and in fact, very few people actual used the product. That’s exactly what I set out to change.

The original UI had been created by engineers. Consequently, usability and adoption rates were extremely low. As the UX team set out to redesign the tool itself, 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 existing product name, “Gumby,” came from the idea that the product was flexible. It’s existing tagline was “your elastic friend in the cloud”. I really liked the idea of a software being your friend – something that you’d enjoy spending time with. So, I decided to keep the tagline and expanded upon the idea of Gumby as a real friend.

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.

While the logo was under development, I worked on concepts for promotion. We had no budget and we were targeting a tight-knit community of developers. My strategy was to equip a few key evangelists with demos, help them to win passionate early adopters, then encourage new users to become become evangelists themselves.

I started by breaking my target audience up into 3 segments.

1. Promoters: People t0 demo Gumby at company events + general socialization.
2. Potential Users: Mostly internal employees that we’d encourage to start using the product.
3. Users: Happy Gumby users that could be converted into 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.

The logo, the copy and the visual style communicated the values of the brand and we were able to communicate a lot while actually saying very little. The measure of success? First time I heard this:

“Hey man, where’d you get that pillow?”