simplabs becomes Mainmatter
Today we are rebranding simplabs to Mainmatter! This change improves the alignment of our brand with what we stand for and what value we deliver for the teams we work with. In this post, I share some insights regarding the origins of the simplabs brand as well as how we got to our new brand Mainmatter.
Mainmatter – or simplabs before this day – is 7.5 years old now. It was founded in March 2015 and has since grown into a team of 20+ people across 11 countries. Over the years we have completed 30+ project with more than 20 different clients from small startups to big corporates. Engineers from our team have given countless talks at international conferences and we're even running some of our own events (check out our events page).
Yet, we never had a professionally thought through and worked out brand in all these years. I had started using simplabs.com as my personal website ca. 15 years ago and when founding the company built a brand around that domain I already had. I got the blue ball logo (which reminds some of the Scottish flag, others of a cake diagram with missing labels but doesn't really mean anything to anyone) from 99designs, picked a font that I liked, combined the 2, and done was the brand.
The very first version of the logo looked like this:
and over time evolved into this:
anchorsimplabs as in simplicity
The idea behind the name simplabs was that simplicity is key in software projects, a realization that every engineer will have in some form or another during their career. The "labs" suffix didn't really mean much at all and I picked it mostly because it was kind of fashionable at the time (like leaving out vowels was a few years before – anyone remember twttr.com?) There were always problems with the name however, the main one being that a lot of people misunderstood the name as "simple labs" which is the opposite of what I wanted to express – achieving simplicity is very much not simple after all! Another problem was that while simplicity is worth striving for, it's just a means to achieve other values but not a value on its own. Simplicity in code makes it easier to build great products, deliver business value and follow through on goals which is what's actually relevant. Thus, overall our brand was never really aligned with what we stand for and deliver to the teams we work with.
anchorWhat we stand for
The first thing we had to do to come up with a new brand that sent a clearer message with better focus was to figure out what that message should be. Like many other teams before us, we had to look at what we were already doing and find out what the core of that was – what the main value proposition of our services is. Also like many other teams before us, we did so by writing down an elevator pitch:
We teach, cross-pollinate, and collaborate with our clients to develop digital products and practices they can build on. We don’t care for trends or theory if the results are impractical, so we strive for effective and pragmatic solutions for complex problems.
Through guidance and knowledge transfer, we take a long-term view, rather than chasing a short-term high, enabling our clients to shape the future of their digital products.
the Mainmatter Team
The core of our work has always been to build foundations that enable teams to be successful and deliver value. Doing so we focus on results and real value delivered as opposed to following trends or theories blindly (for example, in a world that's crazy in love with React, we still see a lot of value in Ember.js for many use cases). While we deliver real products and most of our team writes code most of the time, we also spend a lot of time guiding and supporting others, enabling their long term success – even beyond the time they work with us. Overall, what we strive for is long-term, sustainable value as opposed to short-term highs.
Our next step was to define some key brand personality traits that capture the essence of the above. We ended up with:
- Wisdom: We strive for mastery in what we do and will share what we know with others to enable them get better as well.
- Simplicity: We turn complexity into simplicity to remain focused on what matters instead of solving non-essential problems.
- Engagement: We care about what we do and the communities we are a part of – whether that's a project team or an open source community.
All this eventually lead to the name "Mainmatter" we're releasing today. Our main value proposition is supporting clients in having a stronger focus on whatever is their main matter, the core of their business – whether that's
- by augmenting tech teams and helping them deliver results in time and quality
- by helping companies ship products while building the foundation to support their future evolution and maintenance
- or by mentoring teams to be more efficient in the long terms (and beyond the time they work with us)
To go with the name we created a completely new visual identity. While that's still relatively simple and on point overall, it's significantly bolder and more vivid than what we had before:
If you're interested in more details around the Mainmatter brand, check out our brand styleguide.
anchorWhat else does this mean?
It's important to us to be very clear that this rebranding does not have any other implications – we remain the same company and same team doing the same work as before, just under a new name. We're not taking funding, haven't sold the company and aren't making any similar changes that would influence Mainmatter's path forward. We remain committed to delivering great work for the teams we work with as well as to our engagement in open source – be it as a sponsor of the Ember.js project, a Silver member of the Rust Foundation, or a Founding Sponsor of the Erlang Ecosystem Foundation. Of course we will also continue running and supporting conferences and other events like EuroRust, EmberFest, and Ember Europe.
anchorA bright future ahead
We are looking forward to a bright future as Mainmatter and are excited about future projects and clients to come! If you want to be one of them, please don't hesitate to contact us to talk about how Mainmatter can help you.