‘We were determined to eat our own dog food’: Tom Lloyd and Mike Jordan on rebranding Bluegg to Toward

Set up 21 years ago by Tom Lloyd and Mike Jordan when they dropped out of university, the design agency formerly known as Bluegg has worked for more than 300 clients in its time. These include Cardiff City Football Club, Bristol Zoo and Celtic Manor to name a few. But with two decades under their belt, the founders decided it was time to turn their honed branding skills on themselves.

“The old name was a nod to those younger days – fresh, innocent, youthful, a bit of fun with a touch of irreverence,” the couple tells Creative Boom. “Wind forward two decades and we are a completely different company, with different types of clients, looking for bigger and better projects.

“The history of our name no longer matched our ambitions or attitude. Every conversation started with us looking back at our origins. Now we can start them looking forward to the future.”

Created over 12 months, the pair unveiled the new identity of their agency, Toward, as part of Wales Week celebrations in London. Completed between client jobs, the major reboot proved a challenge the pair relished.

Applying the same approaches they usually take when working for clients, the pair started by asking themselves: “who are we and who do we want to be?”. Bringing out that authenticity is vital for Tom and Mike when crafting a business identity and gives them something to aim for by dialing these details up to 11.

“We also wanted to make sure we developed a proper visual language for us, not just a new logo and color palette,” they add. “This is something we do for all our brand projects, so it was important for us to do it. We now have a design system that makes sense and is flexible, giving us some great opportunities to evolve over the next few years.”

In this spirit of growth and development, the creative duo settled on the name Toward because it looks to the future rather than telling a story from the past. “We thought a lot about what we were doing and why,” they reveal. “Essentially, we help businesses prepare for what’s next – whether it’s growth, acquisition, challenging a market or attracting a new audience.

“We also wanted to show that our work doesn’t necessarily have an end point. It’s always working towards the next goal – a journey with a direction, without an end. To perfectly sum up how we feel about what we do, which is the best reason to give to something specific name’.

It’s a common sense logic that has served the agency well. It’s also an approach that’s consistent with the normal branding process put in place by other companies. “From the beginning, we were determined to ‘eat our own dog food,'” the couple joked. “Just like our client work, we ran workshops, talked to clients and partners and looked at what we had and what we needed.

“We applied everything we know about delivering a brand and a website to ourselves. It gave us a new appreciation for all things customer-facing when going through a rebranding process.”

The result is a streamlined identity driven by clean typography, refreshingly clean graphics and a simple voice that confidently leads the way. In other words, it’s the perfect distillation of what the agency offers and where it sees itself going. And while Tom and Mike were determined to look forward rather than back, one important ingredient they’ve carried over is their location.

“We are a mixed team with about two-thirds being Welsh,” they explain. “That creates its own level of pride as we’re generally a nation proud of our heritage. But we’ve always been careful not to let that define us. We’ve always worked with clients outside of Wales and we intend to grow that number further, so we wanted to make sure Toward gives us that vehicle.”

They add: “Our attitude to all brands, including our own, is inspired by our Welsh roots. As a nation, we’re small. But we’re tenacious, with big ambitions and loud voices. We’re often underestimated, so we need to aim higher and push harder to make an impact.

“When we deliver brands, we intentionally make them feel like a company fit two to four years ahead of the customer, so they have something to work with. Now we have the same.”

In recognition of their regional pride, Tom and Mike wisely chose to launch Toward during Wales week. Having been partners in the initiative since it began, they felt it was a fantastic way to connect with people with similar roots, as well as stay true to their mission statement.

“Launching in London as part of the event was a good way to start our journey to work with more businesses outside of Cardiff,” “We already have a lot of connections with London so it’s about strengthening those links.

“In the design industry, I think there’s always a challenge to compete with London agencies. A lot of the best in the business are based there, so it’s understandable. But I think the world has shrunk in recent years. People are far more comfortable to you’re working remotely with companies further afield and hopefully this will help all out-of-town organizations.”

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