Reflecting on Bridging and Collaboration

Reflecting on Bridging and Collaboration

Affinity Bridge

Earlier this week, following much anticipation, we launched our website redesign (if you're reading this via RSS, check it out!, which has been in the works for several months. It began as a rebranding of the company logo, then new business cards, and finally the website. When we began this redesign process with Kirsti Wakelin, who did the design for all three, we had to spend some time considering and reconsidering what we wanted to convey with our logo and branding. Affinity Bridge has always tied itself to the imagery of bridges. We had to ask ourselves if that was something that still spoke to us, and that we felt still spoke to the people and organizations we work with.

New door sign!We tried some other ideas on for size, experimenting with totally bridge-free logo designs, visuals that were less literal, more abstract, and some nature-inspired ideas. When it came down to it, none of them felt quite right. What is it that we do, overall, as a company? We bridge. No escaping it.

What does the bridge represent to us? Taking an organization that has important goals (ones we have an affinity with) and places they are trying to go, and giving them the proper tools to get there. Showing them the most direct path to achieving what they have set out. Looking at point A, helping to define point B, and then building them a road straight there. Needless to say our old bridge had seen better days, and needed a little updating, but it was still serving its purpose.

We also had to negotiate what was the main commitment we wanted to convey to prospective clients and partners. As much as we love a couple of the other taglines we've played around with, such as "We do great work, and we do it right the first time", and "Drupal for Good" (Drupal being the main software we use), the former always seemed a little too snarky (despite the pride we take in doing things properly) and the latter had already been used widely in the Drupal community. So we settled on a third idea we'd been talking about a lot lately: Collaboration over competition.

Affinity Bridge business cards

Collaboration is one of the cornerstones of how we engage our clients. We see them as partners in creating successful and useful projects, ones that help create cleaner environments, catalyze social change, support local businesses, promote peace, and foster D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) culture.

Collaboration is also essential to our place in the ecosystem of Open Source software. Working with Drupal as our main web platform is as much a choice of an amazing set of tools to build websites, as it is a decision about financial sustainability for our clients, and being part of a larger development community. It provides the opportunity to collaborate with an amazing team of some of the best developers worldwide. Not only is open source software free (ie. you do not have to purchase it, or pay for software upgrades), but it is developed by passionate enthusiasts and companies who care about community building and long-term sustainability.

Coming from that, some of the main points we wanted our website redesign to communicate are:

  • Our interest in helping our clients reach their organizational goals
  • Our passion for working with people who value a triple bottom line
  • Consciousness about ecosystems in the urban and natural worlds 
  • Values as developers: quality, best practices, open source, agile, pragmatic
  • Community-mindedness on various scales: web development, local, global
  • Being on the cutting edge of technology and development practices
  • Sharing knowledge and resources
  • How much we enjoy working with our clients, and respect the work they do

We have some more experimental features that will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months, and I'll be writing up a follow up post to this with some more details about the most interesting design and technical aspects of the new site, so keep an eye out for that. We'd love to hear your feedback on the first phase of the redesign.