LearnUmbrella Brand?


writes on September 12, 2007

by Ryan Carson

We’ve gotten quite a few comments in the last post that asking why we are “wasting so much” time creating an “umbrella brand”, so I’d like to address this point.

These comments seem to say that we should be spending our time and effort on our various different sites, instead of on a re-brand.

I whole heartedly disagree.

As a company, we’re growing and changing. The name ‘Carson Systems’ just doesn’t make sense for us. I chose it back when I was a PHP developer and all I thought I was going to do was build software. Now that we do web apps (DropSend and Amigo), online magazines (Vitamin), events (FOWA, FOWD, FOM, FOOA), and blogging (here), the name just doesn’t make any sense.

A re-brand is necessary so that people aren’t confused by our name. I’m sure you’re going to say that ‘Carsonified’ is no more enlightening that ‘Carson Systems’, however, it’s general enough that we have freedom to do whatever we want to do.

Another reason for the re-brand is so that we can start communicating to everyone that we’re behind all of these projects. You wouldn’t believe how many people I run into that say “Ohhhhh, I didn’t know you were behind XXXX”. It’s crazy. We’re obviously not doing a very good job of explaining that to people.

So by re-branding with a more general name and a great new logo, we can now start putting the Carsonified logo more prominently on all of our web properties. We think it’ll be fun to put things like ‘fully Carsonified’ prominently on our different web properties. It’ll help people understand who’s behind these projects.

Here’s a snippet from a recent comment by Brian Smith

‘Carsonified.com’ demands a tagline “because Carson.com was already taken.” There are probably hundreds of businesses with a name starting with ‘Carson’ the whole idea of trying to build a brand around such a common name is ridiculous.

Brian, what makes you think we’d want to be called ‘Carson’? I know it’s my last name, but isn’t that about the most boring name you’ve ever heard of for a company? This company is not about me. I’d like to say that again: This company is more than Ryan Carson.

As we said in the first post about this re-design, Gill and I didn’t even choose this name. The team did. That’s why I love it!

Another great thing about the name ‘Carsonified’ is that it’s an action. We’d like everything we do to be ‘Carsonified’. It’s the way we do business. Personal, friendly and quality. We think that it’ll be fun to say that our sites and events will be ‘fully Carsonified’, etc.

End of tirade 🙂 I’ve gotta catch a plane to Edinburgh!


Learning with Treehouse for only 30 minutes a day can teach you the skills needed to land the job that you've been dreaming about.

Get Started

0 Responses to “Umbrella Brand?”

  1. Hi Ryan, I appreciate the effort that you are putting into your rebranding exercise.

    I am a part-time design student in Melbourne and a partner in a small but flourishing consulting business covering both hardware and internet services (including design of course).

    We are currently going through the rebranding process ourselves, principally because our existing logo and website are both totally inappropriate.

    Businesses do change and we started out on a “suck it and see” basis and now really need to put forward a professional image more in keeping with what we do.

    As a design student the process is both fascinating and illuminating, so thanks and I look forward to seeing your logo develop.


  2. I love the Carsonified! approach, as it is fun, indicates action, and is somewhat unique while still being easy to remember.

    People around me have been claiming that I’ve been “Mitchitizing” them for so long I can no longer remember when it started. I believe it was the late eighties.

    /me runs out and buys mitchitized.com

  3. Hey guys. Arik is completely right. DropSend, Vitamin, the ‘Future of’ events, Carson Workshops… they all have their own unique brands and personalities. The new Carsonified brand is not going to alter that.

    Even if you think of something as huge and corporate as Tesco (the supermarket), they still have their own individual brands: the Finest range, the Organic range, the Value range… they’re totally separate in their own right, and the packaging design for them doesn’t really get much more unified than a small Tesco logo in the corner.

    The same totally applies with us: expect to see a ‘Carsonified’ logo in the footers of our sites and not much more. Some sites are due for a redesign soon but I assure you that they will be redesigns within their own right; not redesigns to tie into the ‘umbrella’ brand.

  4. Can I say something? I have been watching re-branding process and the community, quietly for many weeks now. And I have been very quiet, to see when someone comes up with the most important point, which the logo’s simplicity. @Carson – you and your team is doing the right thing and the time to come out with somethings that’s going to stay for a while. @Elliot – I love your designs and logos in the past you have made. But you are forgetting that in-order to have an outstanding logo, which people are going to consider it as a part of the culture, just like what Apple did. Is suppose to be very simple and modern, that will work wonders!!! Please give a very brief feedback on what I said.
    Thanks for sharing the creative process of branding!

  5. Ouebslave on September 13, 2007 at 4:04 am said:

    +1 for AllAboutVoting. Look at the banner that sits on top of this page as well.

    This company re-branding thing is even lamer than the videos about organizing your to-dos from a few months back (go to the bank, pick up laundry and call wife).

    I LOVE IT. Please do not change one thing…


  6. @Brian Smith,

    It will fit. DropSend, Amigo, etc are all products that retain their own distinct brand. When I think of DropSend, I don’t think of Carson Systems. I think of DropSend.

    Products like DropSend and Amigo aren’t adversely effected by an umbrella brand, cause they are their own brand. At least thats how I see it.

  7. Ryan, I didn’t say you wanted to be called “Carson.” What I said is that using the -ified suffix is similar to Scoble using his -izer suffix: that kind of naming was apparently trendy at one point but now it is played out. And, I said that using that kind of suffix leads people who understand the DNS system thinking that it was just a naming hack.

    Anyway, if you are planning to add the Carsonified logo to Vitamin, DropSend, etc. then all the logos that have been presented so far are totally inappropriate. How could you possibly put any of the suggested ones onto DropSend.com or Vitamin without redoing all the branding on those sites? If you have a complicated logo, then the logo has to be big. Is the Carsonified logo going to be bigger than the DropSend logo? How is a Serifed and/or baroque company logo going to fit into sites with modernist aesthetics?

    Also, I’m genuinely curious how the Carsonified brand is going to DropSend, as that is a service that I’ve actually found very useful. Actually, I have some suggestions about how to improve revenue for DropSend; if you’d like to hear them, shoot me an email.

  8. >This company is more than Ryan Carson.
    No offense but the name ‘Carsonified’ is an ego driven name than that IS about Ryan Carson.

    There is nothing wrong with this but please don’t decieve yourself.

  9. Sometimes a new brand, whatever it is, can infuse a company with energy and help it make a break or a fresh start.

    For those of us who are less creative than Ryan, but who need a creative perspective: if you go out to sitepoint.com and click on their “contests” tab, you can start a contest among graphic designers. For a hundred bucks or so, you can get a lot of creative people to send you logo designs. Some you’ll like, some you won’t like, but it might help accelerate the creative process.

  10. Re-brands are a great way to realign with your goals. I think this is a smart move. However, re-brands can easily get out of hand. Just be careful not to let the novelty of “new” destroy your momentum moving forward. Newness isn’t progress.


  11. Thanks for the support guys. Nice to know some of you on our side 😉

    @John – Web apps are still core to our business. We make more revenue from the events, but that doesn’t mean they’re the most important element of the business. It all works in harmony and each part is important to the whole.

  12. I don’t think you need to justify yourself as to why a re-brand is needed. It’s clear that there is confusion over what you do, so taking the opportunity to enclose a new marketing message into a re-brand and form a solid foundation for the future is a sound approach.

    Keep up the good work.

  13. Ryan,

    You said to me once that you were in the events business because it enabled you to fund your software development business, but that software development (specifically web apps) was where you wanted to be. You wanted that to be your core business. Is this no longer the case i.e. are Vitamin and the FO* events considered a core part of what you’re about as well?

  14. Keep up the good work ‘carsonified’ team. As a designer I’m finding the whole process very interesting, and its a good way to show people that when they want a>b>c in half a day with no budget, how much they’re going to miss out on as a finished concept!

    Its also funny how all the negative comments your receiving are also anonymous. Gotta love the web. Free to air and then hide in corners.

    Keep goin!!

  15. I have no problem with the re-brand – obviously that’s your perogative. I would agree that the ‘Systems’ part no longer applies, and you need a stronger brand foundation to build upon.

    However, I think the (seemingly) never-ending posts about the logo re-design on this are wearing a little thin. Aside from the volume of posts (what are we on now, post 10? with no particular end in sight), it feels way too much like ‘design by committee’ to me; ‘how do you like this one’ or ‘what if I tweaked the kerning on this one’. All this blow-by-blow account is too much information (imho).

    Good luck with it, anyway.

  16. Are you selling umbrellas too?
    Diverse company, indeed!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

man working on his laptop

Are you ready to start learning?

Learning with Treehouse for only 30 minutes a day can teach you the skills needed to land the job that you've been dreaming about.

Start a Free Trial
woman working on her laptop