Updated: Nov 6
How Slack's Logo Reflects the Company's Forward-Thinking Culture
Picture this: you're a busy professional juggling multiple tasks, and your phone buzzes with a familiar Slack notification. Instinctively, you reach for it, eager to check that oh-so-satisfying update from your favorite channel.
But have you ever considered that it might not just be the app's functionality and your collaborative team members keeping you hooked? It could be the allure of its logo that makes it irresistible. Is it possible that the brand's iconic logo is secretly playing a role in your excitement and usage patterns?
When we think of famous company logos, Slack's name is sure to come up. The cloud-based communication platform's logo features a stylized hash (#) symbol, and like most logos, there's a story behind it.
Slack's brand strategy is to make people's working lives simpler, more pleasant, and more productive. The company's founder, Stewart Butterfield, believed that the best way to achieve this mission was to create a platform that made communication and collaboration easy and accessible. And so, Slack was born.
When it came time to design the logo, Slack's team wanted to create something that represented the platform's core values: simplicity, accessibility, and community. They also wanted something that was memorable and easy to recognize.
The Hash: A Symbol of Community
The hashtag symbol, also known as the hash, has been around since the 1970s. It was originally used in programming languages to indicate comments or notes, but it became popular in the early 2000s with the rise of social media.
The hash quickly became a symbol of community and conversation, as users could add hashtags to their posts to make them more discoverable and to join in on larger conversations. The hashtag became a way to bring people together and create a sense of belonging. It was the perfect icon to represent the connectedness offered by Slack.
The Tilted Hash as a Symbol of Innovation
The original Slack logo featured a multicolored hash, or octothorpe, as Slack calls it, tilted at a slight angle. The rotated nature of Slack's first hash logo could be interpreted as a symbol of innovation and forward-thinking. The brand design was unconventional and unexpected, which is fitting for a company set to disrupt the traditional workplace communication model.
The unconventional nature of the logo also reflected Slack's commitment to innovation and experimentation. The platform has been constantly evolving and improving, and the initial logo's playful design suggests that the company is not afraid to take risks and try new things.
So, why did Slack change its logo?
Slack had created a distinctive and playful logo featuring the hash symbol prior to its launch. However, the logo's complexity made it prone to errors - with 11 different colors that could look terrible if placed on the wrong background or angle.
While it had many beautiful aspects, it lacked the cohesion expected of a strong visual identity. As a result, their in-house design and brand team worked on creating a new logo that retained the spirit of the original but was simpler, more refined, and scalable. In collaboration with graphic designer Michael Bierut and utilizing a business branding service from Pentagram, the new logo was born. The result was an evolutionary redesign that could work well in a variety of contexts.
A New Spin on Brand Design
In 2019 Slack launched a new logo.
Slack's logo redesign process aimed to preserve the recognizable hash symbol while also modernizing its design. While the new logo may appear vastly different, the hash still has a subtle presence in the new design, which makes sense given its association with Slack's functionality.
The design team played with different variations of the hash symbol before settling on a new design that incorporates droplets and lozenges. According to Beirut, these shapes are more versatile and malleable than the hashtag's parallel lines, allowing for greater flexibility in various branding applications. The new logo was implemented to help Slack leverage its visual identity in creative ways for future marketing campaigns.
The Brand Colors as a Symbol of Diversity
Slack’s brand color palette features primary colors optimized for digital marketing. Of course, the company’s well-known aubergine, which is used prominently in the app, appears in the logo, as well. The design team at Slack says that accessibility is at the forefront of their color choices.
Each color represents a different aspect of the platform's functionality. The purple represents channels, the green represents direct messages, and the blue represents threads. The colors are meant to convey a sense of organization and clarity.
The colors used in Slack's logo can also be interpreted as a symbol of diversity and inclusivity. Each color represents a different aspect of the platform's functionality, but they also reflect the diversity of the platform's users.
The colors are bright and bold, which suggests that Slack is a platform for people who are unafraid to be themselves and express their ideas. The colors also suggest that the platform is a place where diversity is celebrated and embraced.
The Custom Font as a Symbol of Uniqueness
The logo font choice is distinct and exclusive to Slack, named Founders Grotesk, designed solely for the company. The font's contemporary, minimalist style is easily legible and aligns with the platform's principles of uncomplicated and user-friendly design.
Slack's custom font not only serves as the typography for its logo but also represents its distinctiveness and creativity. The font was exclusively designed for Slack, indicating the company's focus on standing out and not following the conventional design norms.
The font utilized in Slack's logo is sleek and contemporary, reflecting the company's emphasis on straightforwardness and lucidity. This font choice further highlights Slack's commitment to creating a brand identity that is both distinctive and memorable.
The Slack Logo: A Playful Twist on the Hash
From their colorful and playful design aesthetic to their user-friendly interface, every aspect of the Slack experience is designed to promote teamwork and positivity. A brand is more than just a logo or a name - it's a collection of experiences and associations that help us understand what a company stands for and what it has to offer.
By creating a strong and consistent brand identity, Slack has been able to foster a sense of community among its users and to position itself as a leader in the world of digital collaboration. And as more and more companies embrace remote work and distributed teams, Slack's branding has become more important than ever, helping to bridge the gaps between individuals and teams across the globe.
Slack's logo design is layered with implicit meanings and connotations. The unconventional use of the hash symbol, vibrant color scheme, and exclusive font all contribute to its distinct and unforgettable appearance. It symbolizes Slack's values of originality, inclusivity, diversity, and innovation.
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