We sat down with Qubit's design duo, Tom Jessel (Senior Designer) and Nicole Gleadle (Design Lead), to find out how they created a brand video that has everyone buzzing. Earlier this year, Tom and Nicole were tasked with the herculean mission of capturing Qubit's mission and purpose in a 1-2 minute video.
Our leadership team wanted to inspire our community with a 'Think Different' moment for Qubit. That said, Steve Jobs had the entire agency at TBWA\Chiat\Day working on his now-famous campaign. Tom and Nicole had a campaign budget that was, "slightly smaller," so they had to be exceptionally creative. We grabbed some Q&A time to find out how they solved this very significant creative challenge.
What’s the premise behind the video?
Nicole: We wanted to capture a feeling that you get when you're the customer of our customers. Many of Qubit's clients are the same companies where we buy our clothes, accessories, beauty products, or they're our favorite travel group for our holidays. As Qubit employees, we're their personalization partner for product recommendations and AI-powered shopping experiences. Outside of the office, we're also the shoppers on those sites! We wanted to show what the journey looks like for a brand and their customers. This is an exciting opportunity to tell the Qubit story in a way that everyone can understand!
Tom: It was a chance for us to get under the hood of what personalization really is, the emotive nuts and bolts. So often in technology you’re bombarded by buzzwords and tech-speak. Creating this allowed us to articulate what personalization is without the jargon.
What makes this video special?
Tom: We wanted to strip away everything that wasn't absolutely necessary and get back to something that would appeal to the heart. It’s minimal and sleek, relying on clean animations to really tell a story.
Nicole: When you work in-house - previously I’ve only worked in agencies - you get to really steep yourself in the brand, really get under its skin. I love working with a brand that is ever-evolving. It allows us some room to really inhabit it, make it our own and infuse it with our own personalities. This video shows the human side of the Qubit technology that can at times be, well, very technical.
Where do you start on a project like this?
Tom: You presented the concept for the script to the team on a stack of index cards in a meeting. Reading them over a beautifully timed piece of music, it came alive. We sat in silence: it struck a chord with all of us.
Nicole: Yes, the script was spot on. It hit all the Qubit verticals and made them personal to our customers’ customers. Basically, solving the problems of shoppers! Like: travel (“a weekend in the city or a week by the sea”) and beauty (“Poppy pink or terracotta brown lipstick”) and fashion (sometimes the seasonal sale). Also, it has a lovely poetic rhythm.
The animations are really captivating! How did you find the right style?
Tom: We kicked things off by exploring various illustrative styles - landing on a chosen style fairly quickly. Icon animations were a hot topic with website changes still fresh in our minds, we knew what was working for us as a brand. Clean, concise and easily digestible.
Nicole: Tom took the lead on creating storyboard illustrations for the video off the back of the script. He really nailed the style and it works very well as a compliment to the style I am creating for the website. It all feels like it belongs together in the same family.
Tell me more about bringing the illustrations to life.
Tom: We decided we needed an animator who knows the Qubit brand back to front. Maxim Levy had been working as a freelance video editor with us for about a year. He was a clear choice.
Nicole: It was a hugely collaborative process and that shows in the final product.
Tom: And having him sitting next to us was a huge help too. It was very much a push and pull. We came up with some really great ideas together! One of our company values is #SlightlyObsessed and the process with Maxim certainly embodies that; we must have changed the final animation of Start, Grow and Pro 30+ times and at one point we were debating the sound effect for the ‘lipstick kiss’ - we got some weird looks from the product and engineering team that day!
Nicole: 1000 kudos to our stellar animator Maxim for being agile, fast and innovative!
And the music and sound effects?
Nicole: When we soft-launched the video at our annual Qubit conference in Oxford earlier this year we used placeholder music by a famous composer. After the conference (and several unanswered emails requesting a license to the music later) we decided we needed to create something bespoke and legally royalty-free.
Tom: We're telling a story about our brand and the script leads you through quite an emotional journey: we had to make sure to hit the right notes at exactly the right times.
Nicole: So I contacted a composer that I know in the US Michael Clark to help us create the perfect piece of music that has emotion to match the video.
Tom: Working with a composer and giving creative direction on music was a learning experience for all of us.
Nicole: We really built this piece together from the ground up! He gave us three styles to choose from to start.
Tom: Michael would try something and we’d all jump on a call and talk about it. That helped us get where we wanted, quickly. We had to really dissect the piece down second-by-second. As soon as we got that right, everything fell into place.
Nicole: He’s titled the piece “Oxford” and it’s beautiful! Really happy with how the music tied the whole video together.
How has the video been received so far?
Nicole: When we showed it internally at conference the response was amazing! Some people even said they had a tear in their eyes watching it. And that was the goal to bring some emotion to technology software! We hope you love it as much as we do!
Tom: As Nicole said, the conference was a real gauge for us and the work we put in. The company really got behind it, including our founders who understandably have very high expectations! Very interested to see what the outside world thinks.
Thanks to Nicole and Tom for taking the time to show us behind the curtain. We hope you’ll take a moment to watch the new Qubit brand video, share it with your friends and explore our new product portfolio. Watch more videos from Qubit on our YouTube channel.