COLLINS Reimagines Audience Platform OpenWeb to De-Troll Digital Discourse and Help Publishers Thrive
In an ambitious effort that further establishes it as a preeminent force in branding, strategy and design, COLLINS has developed a comprehensive and symbolic new brand system for audience relationship platform OpenWeb.
Founded in 2012, OpenWeb is a company that has evolved from a B2B technology company into a mission-driven enterprise that aims to improve online conversations. In the process, OpenWeb has developed a platform that empowers publishers to form direct relationships with their audiences at scale, rather than outsourcing audience engagement to external social platforms.
OpenWeb encourages healthy conversations and community engagement on publishers’ own sites. In the process, these publishers — which include Hearst, Yahoo!, Penske Media Corporation, News Corp, and over 1,000 more domains — can create powerful and engaged communities through multiple channels.
To reflect both OpenWeb’s evolution and its mission to fuel relationships between publishers, audiences, and advertisers through healthy online conversation, COLLINS was invited to drive not just a rebranding, but a full-on “reimagination.” “We worked with their leadership team to invent a new identity, both verbal and visual – based on a new strategic foundation we crafted with them to answer their largest ambition,” says COLLINS Design Director Megan Bowker. “They think big.”
In doing so, Bowker says it was one of the more unique creative and strategic undertakings the agency has been involved with. “This was not a straightforward brand assignment, whatsoever,” she says. “Focusing the creative brief became the first step. The eventual brand came through our ongoing conversations – as well as research in the marketplace – to make sure we shared a common understanding of what the real problem was and what the biggest opportunity could be.”
In an ingenious move that belies the formulaic tendencies of many internet brands, COLLINS instead turned to 19th century typography and newspaper headlines of decades past for inspiration, in turn creating a narrative that not only represents OpenWeb’s core belief in written communication, but one that would hopefully resonate with publishers as well.
“What OpenWeb needed was a clear voice that would not just represent their ideal future but also advance healthier conversations every day,” says Bowker. “To this end, we developed an approach that is intentional and responsible. It’s something that we hope serves as a breath of fresh air in a noisy, eye-popping digital landscape. OpenWeb had to signal that they’re different. With a clear, confident voice, we think this good idea will travel far.”
Anchored by a minimal, yet striking logo in the shape of seven W’s that form an “O,” which effectively symbolizes harmony and exchange, COLLINS’s work for OpenWeb began in late 2019. Marrying centuries-old visual styles with modern digital technology and motion design, COLLINS invented a digital technique for intertwining libraries of open-source content to reflect diverse conversations while infusing a tight color system to create crisp interface design and product illustrations.
With a blend of classic imagery and innovative tech, COLLINS has accelerated OpenWeb’s vision and given the company a distinct story and voice. This helps reinforce its drive to fight the divisive status quo and improve online discourse. And while the seeds for OpenWeb’s visual reimagining were planted nearly two years ago, Bowker says the partnership between both companies continues to bear fruit.
According to COLLINS Chief Creative Officer Brian Collins, both companies developed significant trust in each other from the start. This reimagined identity represents the logical evolution of their work together, which COLLINS continues as OpenWeb develops new products and technologies. “We love a mission-driven company with a big, meaningful purpose,” he says. “OpenWeb are the kind of leaders who have big goals for a better future for publishers. That’s just the kind of company we are built to support.”
OpenWeb Co-Founder/CEO Nadav Shoval shares mutual feelings about collaborating with COLLINS, adding, “Working with COLLINS has been an incredible experience, Together, we brought our mission to improve online conversation to life — transforming our brand to reflect the truly mission-driven company we are today. We’re proud of our work with COLLINS and excited for what’s to come next.”
COLLINS is an independent strategy, design and communications company in San Francisco and New York City. They mix technology and creativity to build brands that can’t be ignored.
OpenWeb’s mission is to improve online conversation. As a product company, OpenWeb partners with publishers and brands to build strong, direct relationships with their audiences. OpenWeb’s technology empowers its partners to build vibrant communities rooted in healthy conversations and robust social experiences. OpenWeb works with more than 1,000 top-tier publishers, hosting more than 100 million active users each month.
Founded in 2012, OpenWeb has over 150 employees in New York City, Tel Aviv, and Kiev and is backed by world-class investors including Insight Venture Partners, Georgian, Entrée Capital, AltaIR Capital, New York Times, Samsung Next, Dentsu, Norma Investments, and ScaleUp. To date, the company has raised $223 million in funding and is currently valued at over $1 billion. To learn more about OpenWeb’s platform visit OpenWeb.com, or follow @OpenWebHQ on LinkedIn and Twitter.