Branding A Visual Voicemail App

In late 2011, the Marketing Dept. of the SaaS (Software As A Service) division of RealNetworks, Inc. was tasked with branding a visual voicemail product developed at RealNetworks, Inc. We were charged with naming the product, designing a logo and recommending colors.

Early Concepts of Diego


First we needed to name the product. The Marketing Director, Project Manager and myself (designer) each created three lists of names. Part of my process for generating names, which I find immensely fun, was to research the product docs and ponder methods in which people communicate to ultimately find a fun, single word description describing the product. The idea of visual voicemail and it's associated pre-determined messages intrigued me. I felt the fun and unique messages would compel consumers to reveal more specific to the moment descriptions of what was occupying their time. I envisioned the product growing to include very specific and unique voicemails (Busy Greetings as what the term for the messages later became) generated by the product's user community. This lead me to the word, Divulge.

I threw Divulge onto my list of words. My colleagues and I presented our list of names to each other to pick the best for submission to corporate marketing. Divulge made the cut and we presented our names to the VP of Marketing and her team. Long story short, Divulge was favored and we excitedly moved forward developing a logo tied to the intent behind the word and associated product - easily allowing users to set pre-programmed visual voicemails. 

Second, I needed to design the logo. Having done research in the naming stage, I took out some pen and paper and began sketching hundreds of conceptual thumbnails to explore varied directions in which a visual system emerges that strikes a compelling tone and encompasses the intent of the product. One strong idea that came out of the exploratory sketch phase was the idea of Divulge's users likely being social butterflies. That idea was strong enough to move off the paper and into the computer.



One of The Initial Submissions


I had a vision of a butterfly fluttering from flower to flower and thought it evoked the idea of a busy social butterfly fluttering from one activity to another - needing an easy way to keep their social circle informed of their activities.  To embolden that idea and the product's benefit to consumers, I developed the tagline, Spread Your Message. I thought this design strongly fit the product's intent and with some refinement it would fit within RealNetworks' family of products.



Seeing What One Potential Logo Solution Looks Like Amongst RealNetworks' Product Family

Alas, the VP of Marketing thought the logo was too feminine and would leave out the business crowd. Maybe. I look back at this version and think it ultimately might have served the product's budget and resource allocation more effectively than the final solution which would require more effort to successfully bring Diego's (whom you will meet below) personality and role to life. Additionally, the other concepts presented also didn't win over any decision makers, so.....

Back to the drawing board I went. In altering the approach to designing a logo for Divulge, I thought I'd explore something we hadn't previously done at RealNetworks. I began thinking about bringing a character to life that would embody the features of our product. The idea of a macaw repeating phrases came to mind - telling users' audiences what kept them from answering the phone. I designed a macaw's head and eye around the shape of a "D". I was also looking to name this character, something people could rally around and start to feel the character was alive. In keeping with the "D" theme - for Divulge, I thought Diego had a nice ring to it. Meet Diego!


Diego was a huge hit with the team. I refined several versions before settling on the final version which was was simplified into as few lines and shapes as possible while retaining Diego's personality. Diego would have to appear quite small in the app, as a deck icon on Android and Apple mobile devices as well as look great on large banners and printed materials. 


The ultimate vision for Diego was that we could acquire voice talent to bring Diego further to life. We'd record a series of voicemails in Diego's voice that users could use as a fun and branded way of letting their friends know what they were doing. This would require marketing dollars we weren't ultimately given. The lack of giving voice to Diego wasn't the downfall of the product, but I'd certainly push harder for my vision in the future to ensure it is given all the support it needs to thrive. It was a fun and challenging project.