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METAL RABBIT

Metal Rabbit Media, 2018
— Brand Strategy, Design, & Development —

Metal Rabbit

  • Concept Development
    Creative Direction
    Wireframing
    Front-End Development
    Motion Design
    Logo Design
    Copywriting
  • Background

  • Metal Rabbit is an agency positioned as an industry leader in reputation management, digital marketing, media relations, and social media — hired by brands, family offices, and chief executives to oversee reputation, branding, and/or marketing campaigns.

  • Challenge

  • Provide Metal Rabbit with a new look and feel to reinforce the company's expertise in creating intrigue and appeal to a broader audience.

  • Research

  • In 2017, the team at Metal Rabbit conducted generative research to identify any unmet needs among our prospective and existing clients by compiling feedback from recent pitches and client communications. We discovered that clients often didn't grasp the full extent of our services after using our website, even though they found the website easy to use. According to one client, "You offer so many services that I can't really wrap my head around everything you do."

    With this discovery, we realized our website was falling short on a key requirement: to help users understand how working with us would meet their needs and bring value to their business. Our users needed to quickly assess our value as a potential partner so that they could easily decide if contacting us would be a good use of their time. The website in its current iteration was not meeting this need.

  • Metal Rabbit Logo

    Metal Rabbit Website in 2017 — About Page

  • To address this, I took a holistic approach to solving the problem at hand. Rather than making quick adjustments to the site, I used the research findings as a springboard into conversations with crossfunctional teammates about high-level objectives. Since our goal for 2018 was to expand and diversify our client base, it became clear that speaking to different kinds of people would require a brand refresh.

  • Inspiration

  • To kick off the brand refresh, we started with an exercise where I gave the following prompt — if Metal Rabbit was a person you know, what would they be like? This helped us brainstorm ideas around crafting the brand's personality. The discussion naturally shifted from listing ideal characteristics to thinking of ways to capture those characteristics in the design of our logo.

  • Metal Rabbit Logo
  • Logo Design

    Although the skeuomorphic logo from 2015 was a nice literal reference to the rabbit being made out of metal, its sharp edges and visual weight were at odds with the tone we wanted to achieve. Recognizing this, I scrapped the metal look and designed a version more aligned with our objective of appealing to a broader audience. The design of the new logo conveyed an accessible tone, and its to-the-point simplicity took our users' needs into account.

  • Approach

  • Experience Design

    The process of refreshing the logo set the direction for the website. Having struck the right tone with the logo, I began to deconstruct its basic elements and reconstruct them throughout the site. This approach made it easier to create cohesion.

    At this point, new projects were coming in, so we needed to find ways to save time. I conducted a competitive analysis to speed up the process of working out the information architecture and user flow. For this, the company directory page on the awwwards website became my dashboard.

    My main focus for the analysis was identifying flow patterns to understand what interactions would be familiar to users who would likely be visiting competitor sites. I used a point system in a spreadsheet to determine the most common conventions and discovered that single-page websites were the dominant site structure. The advantage of these websites is that the information is all in one place and easy to access, which was ideal for our users.

  • Information Architecture

    Previously, the website featured content with detailed information about our work. For the new site, we chose to remove any information beyond the message of here's what we do and here's how to get in touch. Since our clients had specific needs that required custom solutions, we reserved sharing detailed information until after an initial call. The minimal site design provided an ideal template for rapidly publishing microsites with custom strategies delivered in the form of interactive proposals.

    Having already decided on a single-page site structure, what was left was a bit of content hierarchy and choosing an organization scheme. Through the process of collaborating on the copy for the website, we landed on a hierarchy that repeated headers and body text both in length and number to optimize for predictability. In terms of the organization, we chose a task-oriented scheme to highlight the importance of contacting us for more information.

  • Implementation

  • Metal Rabbit Website
  • Visual Design

    The previous website's urban startup aesthetic was slick but cold, and cityscapes as subject matter were irrelevant to the work we did beyond alluding to where we did it.

  • Instead of relying on imagery for visual impact, we zeroed in on typography to play this role to draw focus to the message. For headers, I chose a bold titling serif that's a modern take on Bodoni — a font often used to express elegance. For body text, I chose a geometric sans-serif font with a casual, modern feel.

    In addition to making the site easy to comprehend, the minimalist design reinforced Metal Rabbit's strategic design capabilities, with airy negative space creating impossible to ignore simplicity — the kind of attention grabbing you would want to see from a company designing digital ads and experiences. The obscured rabbit logo further reinforced this idea while also giving a nod to the history of the company’s position as a black-ops online reputation firm.

  • Motion Design

    Threading motion throughout each section of the site brought energy and depth to the flat design. Additionally, even though the animations didn't serve a functional purpose like providing feedback on system status, they played the important role of directing attention to the text as a dynamic frame.

  • Social Strategy

  • Before the brand refresh, Metal Rabbit's Instagram page served as a best-of channel for our creative. But with designs delivered for a wide range of films and industries, our page lacked cohesion and an identity of its own.

    Aesthetically speaking, it was difficult to see a common thread between promotional material for Sing Street and Cartel Land, for example.

    Fortunately, it was around this time when Instagram released the carousel feature for posts, which provided a way to improve how we showcased our work. We organized each post as an individual project and designed cover images that carried over the visual system established by our website and fit together into a larger image when viewed as a grid.

  • Results

  • We launched the new site at the end of 2017. Here are the metrics for 2018 showing how it performed compared to previous years:

    • arrow_upward5.2%

      Users

    • arrow_upward15.4%

      Sessions

    • arrow_downward8.4%

      Bounce Rate

    • arrow_upward187.3%

      Session Duration

  • Out of the above metrics, the increased session duration speaks to the overall success of the project considering the amount of content we removed from the site. This finding suggests that our users were more engaged by a visually dynamic experience over heavy text. The site's improved performance was also confirmed by business metrics. Our qualified leads per month showed a steady increase throughout the year and averaged at a 15% increase over the year prior.

CREDITS

  • Credits

    • CD/AD/DEV – Christopher Newman

      Founder & CEO – Bryce Tom

      VP, Entertainment – Ian Tarbert

      Director of Digital Operations – Matthew Cleckner