Apr 8, 2022
The story behind the Shadow Robot brand refresh
We’re celebrating 25 years of robotics excellence with a new website & brand refresh!
What’s in a name?
A lot, hence we didn’t change it. Same name: Shadow Robot. However, we get called Shadow for short (our very own pet name) and The Shadow Robot Company in full (when things get a bit corporate).
Why a brand refresh and why now?
We’d like to confirm that we’re still the same in many ways. We haven’t been acquired by another company or running under new management and we haven’t changed what we do or why we do it. We’ve had a spruce up and done a bit of spring cleaning! Here are some of the reasons that led us to it:
We shifted our focus to product excellence and we wanted our branding to reflect that
Our robot Hands are the world’s most advanced and dexterous Hands. No other company producing robot hands and systems so far has claimed to have more degrees of freedom than our technology. The branding, however, was outdated and needed an uplift. Some were surprised to know that we’ve been going for over two decades or that we’ve sold our products to renowned universities as well as to names within the top ten technology companies in the world!
Our audience is still researchers but in many forms
At the heart of it all, we always have been and continue to be here for professors and researchers. It’s why we ensure that all Shadow Hands are fully integrated with ROS allowing researchers to quickly edit and extract data for more meaningful and experimental work. This includes working with those doing research both in industry scenarios e.g. nuclear, pharma, remote maintenance, space etc.), and in academia such as universities and research labs. We felt a refresh of the brand and our messaging would better help us speak to our key market.
We’re celebrating our 25th anniversary!
This means a lot of things to us as a company. It shows just how far we’ve come, how proud we are in this moment and what we’d like to achieve going forward. We’re deeply reflective and appreciative of everyone who’s contributed to our journey. Beyond our talented team, we have our suppliers, supporters, distributors, collaborators, clients and more. With every new social media follower, to people reading our company news (like you), it means a lot to us. We’ll remember this big milestone as the birthday where we treated ourselves to a new look that better reflects who we are today!
Getting hands-on with an updated logo
Our old logo served us well when we started off with our flagship product, the Shadow Dexterous Hand. However, we’re growing fast as a company and in our innovations.
We’ve since incorporated teleoperation and telepresence systems (and we’re launching another exciting new product next year) so we needed a logo that stayed true to our beginnings but also reflected our vision for the future.
The exploration phase looked at many ways we could evolve a hand shape into something more abstract, allowing us to wave hello to newer innovations down the line. Speaking of lines, that’s what caught our attention.
The logo that we settled on cleverly depicts a hand (think of the thumb and four fingers) but the varying length of lines also symbolises our versatility and that we’re not limited by any constraints when it comes to developing cutting-edge technology within robotics.
Tickle me pink…
We loved our deep purple colour but it wasn’t distinctive enough particularly when our assets were scaled-down or seen from a distance.
We didn’t want to deviate too much from the purple spectrum but we did want to go bold, after all, we’re a robotics company pushing the boundaries with world firsts and dexterity that’s hard to match, so something striking was called for!
When we saw the chosen shade of pink, it made us feel happy and that’s the response we wanted. We didn’t dissect the colour as something that’s gender-charged because, to be honest, to say that any colour can only be associated with femininity would be a futile statement in 2022. It’s time to rethink pink.
On the other hand, if pink does evoke those connotations for some, we’d like it to be a reminder of how we need more women in tech. We need more diversity, more perspectives and more role models.
As a nod to our roots, you’ll see an ombré gradient effect being used across our new assets. It’s a reminder of how we’ve evolved from then to now.
Teal is a great colour. It’s cyan-tiffically proven.
So maybe it’s not scientifically proven exactly, but you get the point and the pun. We needed colours that would compliment the pink. The teal looked great, however, like pink, it is a strong colour so we introduced a softer shade into the colour palette: hello duck-egg.
✔👏😀🎉Brand logo, identity work and colour palette completed by Dan Barber, Mettle PR
Transferring the insights onto a new website
From humble beginnings of being a hobbyist group meeting in our Founder’s attic to then formally registering as a company in 1997, we created a website simply to share what we were doing.
We had no expert guiding us in what makes for great usability, how to format information so that users could quickly get the information they needed and more. Our old site no longer felt consistent with the web design best practices of today and deserved some extra love and care.
Seeing as you’re on our website reading this post, we’d really appreciate your thoughts on the design and usability so if you can spare a moment, please share your feedback with marketing[at]shadowrobot[dot]com
✔👏😀🎉Website completed by Mike Zak, Web Designer and Developer
The hype around our type
We’re using Roboto and we didn’t just choose it because its first five letters spell “robot”, we promise. We chose it for its accessibility. As a sans-serif font, Roboto uses simplified characters which stand apart from each other and appear easier to read for users with dyslexia and visual impairment.
Designed by Christian Robertson and developed for Google, it’s defined as a font that “doesn’t compromise, allowing letters to be settled into their natural width. This makes for a more natural reading rhythm more commonly found in humanist and serif types”.
Where Roboto isn’t available, we’re using a popular favourite when it comes to accessibility and in general: Arial.
You can bet on new assets
Anyone going through a brand refresh (or a complete rebrand) knows that the job is monumental. We needed to ensure our brand is implemented consistently everywhere that our business shows up.
We’ve done a lot so far by refreshing our business cards, presentation slides, documents and letterheads, social media profile banners, desktop wallpapers, brochures, compliment slips and product packaging.
There’s still a bit to do so we appreciate your patience during this transition. We’ve also accepted that our old visual identity will live on in certain places on the web and we’re fine with that! It evokes pleasant memories for us and makes us smile at how far we’ve come.
✔👏😀🎉Font type, brand guidelines and all brand assets completed by Richard Kersey, Ker-Z Creative
From brand focus to camera focus
Did you know that our Founder Emeritus, Richard Greenhill, was a photographer by trade with no robotics background? Since he’s enjoying his well-earned time off, we didn’t ask him to shoot a bunch of new photos for us but we’re sure he’d approve of the photographer who did come in and spend three intense days clicking photos of our technology.
We’re looking forward to rolling our new images out and you’ll see some of them scattered around our website. If you’re a journalist looking to cover us, we’d love to supply you with our new material!
✔👏😀🎉 Photography completed by Matt Lincoln, Matt Lincoln Photography & Motion
Why does the Rubik’s cube frequently pop up in your branding?
Fun fact: Did you know that when Rubik invented the cube, he described it as the product of a hermit who is “coming out of the shadows”? That’s a nice coincidence.
We love the Rubik’s cube because it’s simply a marvellous invention that has stood the test of time and it is a great object to grab and manipulate. There is an astounding number of potential variations to solve the challenge (around 43 quintillions) making it more than ideal to showcase the dexterity and capabilities of our robot Hands.
We asked Jeff Bezos, Founder and then CEO of Amazon, to use our robot Hands to solve a Rubik’s cube, he laughed and said, “I can’t even do that with my hands” which we think is one of the most relatable things we’ve heard.
Brighter brand. Brighter future.
Rich Walker, Managing Director at Shadow Robot talks about our vision for the future:
“2022 is a significant year for our company as we turn 25 and what better way to remember this milestone than by updating our visual identity? Our new look still embraces our attic-based heritage, only now it’s paired with the use of a futuristic theme to highlight our ambitions in robotics!”
Rich follows on with:
“Our commitment is still the same: awesome robots making working lives better, and we’re doing so with further development of our innovative products and expanding our offering to meet your robotics needs – watch this space!”
Check out the various ways our Hands are being used today by researchers all over the globe.
✔👏😀🎉Video completed by OMG Media
25th Anniversary Message:
If you’re a professor or a researcher – we’d love to hear from you.
If you’re a supplier, distributor – thank you for being a special part of our journey.
If you’re a collaborator – we appreciate you, when’s the next big thing? 😉
If you’re a follower/ supporter – you spur us on and motivate us to do more.
If you’re a client – thanks for choosing us, we’ve loved working with you.
If you’re a robotics company – let’s keep making waves in this industry!
If you’re a student – we hope we’re helping you see that robotics is cool and a viable career option, think of us during your job search! You’ll see our open roles listed here.