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In the latest instalment in our series of blogs giving insight into how we work behind the scenes, we asked our Art Director James Roadley-Battin to talk through the process of reimagining the Exient brand…

Tell us a little about your role at Exient.

As Exient’s Art Director I’m responsible for defining the mood and psychological appeal of our studio’s games. I lead a highly motivated art team and ensure a professional unified vision is implemented. Together we visualise incredible, interactive user experiences.

I develop all areas of video game art, whether it is concept, 3D, VFX or UI. My responsibilities extend to visual branding and marketing assets, particularly aligning a project’s visual style within a project’s constraints.

How did the 2020 rebranding project come about?

What originally started out as a small task to create a new logo became a much more complex and deeper project to find out who we really were as a company – and to then ensure those values are reflected in branding motifs, both internally and externally, across the UK and Malta operations.

It became clear quite early on that simply coming up with a new logo without a wider consideration of what we wanted to say simply wouldn’t do. So, we created a process of dependencies that broke the project down into smaller pieces to help us reach our goal.

The first task was to define our core values as a studio, which then fed into our mission statement, which in turn gave us a tagline (more on that anon!) and, finally, the new visual identity.

Talk us through your processes…

As a first step we held small focus groups with people from across the company – it was hugely important to include the whole team in the process, so we could emerge with a brand we could all unite behind and live by.

For the focus groups we used Brand Cards to help focus the conversation – the cards allow people to pick out keywords that they think describe us best.

This was an invaluable exercise as it challenged us all to think differently. What are the values we hold internally? Who do we strive to be as a company? What do we represent to the people who play our games? What do our partners think when Exient is mentioned?

Here’s the output of that process:

Having these six company values gave us the confidence to move forward with a more detailed mission statement, defining where we’ve been, where we are now and, perhaps most importantly, where we want to be.

Ultimately, we want Exient to be known for making high quality, free-to-play, engaging mobile games experiences that are supported throughout their lifecycle.

How did you to start to translate all this into the visual identify?

Well, it was interesting as first I wanted to have a tagline in place. This proved trickier than expected, but one of the cues that resonated with people was ‘guiding giants’ – in the sense that we work with big partners to deliver on their mobile ambitions.

The term made it through to our mission statement rather than the tagline, but I also used it to help with mood boards for the new logo, which I eventually distilled into symbols depicting the newly-defined six core values above.

From there I set about creating logo ideas and motifs, which culminated in a playful ‘giant’ robot character, comprising the letters that spell out Exient, all within a reinforcing colour palette.

How did you roll out the new look?

At this point the visual language really started to make sense – we’ve now rolled the branding out across the company: it’s on the website, t-shirts, hoodies, presentation decks and business cards.

We also had a bit of fun with a splash screen that includes the new branding along with all the IPs we’ve created or work with across both the UK and Malta offices. We now have one identity – the robot in our logo doesn’t have a name, he is essentially all of us, whether on someone’s business card or on our stand at an event.

All I need to do now is think of a way to animate him!