The Brand Journey of a Unicorn

This isn't your typical rebranding story. This case study shines a light on how Veriff's brand evolved and improved over the three years after its relaunch. It's the story of how Veriff's identity played a role in its journey in becoming a unicorn. 


What is Veriff?
Veriff is an identity verification company led by CEO Kaarel Kotkas, with a mission to protect individuals and businesses in the digital realm. Veriff is all about making the digital world safer and building trust online.

The Challenge: Making Veriff Stand Out
Back in the beginning of 2019, despite undergoing a recent rebranding five months earlier, Veriff still didn't stand out from the crowd. The visual identity failed to differentiate us from the competition and lacked a distinctive presence. It also lacked the vital elements that serve as a tool to tell the Veriff story and explain what the product does.  

At that time, I (David Castillo), was the only designer on the marketing team, so, we took things one step at a time. Convincing Kaarel and Janer (our COO at the time) to buy in to building a new brand was easier than I thought. With the support and leadership from Triin Uustalu (CMO at the time) and Brett Vomma (Design lead), we realized that we needed a brand that truly matched their vision. We saw a gap between how Veriff looked & felt and what it stood for.

The process

Defining Our Brand Strategy
Step one was clarity and direction. We explored our brand's core and established a strong brand strategy. With Triin's leadership and guidance and Kaarel's and Janer's vision, we honed our focus. We set out our brand value – "Veriff is a force for good – Veriff protects people and businesses in the digital world" Veriff is dedicated to shielding people and businesses in the digital landscape. Alongside my thorough market and competitor research, we embraced a distinct personality that resonated with our target audience:

- Visionary, Clean and Transparent
- We are real, we project trust and humanity
- We are for the people

Navigating the Challenges: A Step-by-Step Approach
Given our small team, we tackled each facet of the brand strategically. Having clarity over how we would like to be perceived, and with a clear vision, we started our project with the fundamentals: refining our logo and color palette. But we didn't stop there. We recognized the power of photography as a critical tool for storytelling and product explanation.

As both our team and Veriff grew, our brand elements and applications evolved in sync. This adaptable approach empowered us to keep pace with the expanding team and company, ensuring Veriff's brand remained as dynamic as our progress.

Simplicity with Depth

The original logo, crafted by Heidi Taperson in 2015, encapsulated the essence of identity verification. It might look simple, but it holds a world of complexity. Ensuring someone is who they say they are isn't easy, especially online. The logo symbolized the intricate process of verifying authenticity in a digitized world. With AI, machine learning, and specialist insights, Veriff's logo portrayed a narrative of accuracy and trust.

The Power of Atlantis

Picture the scene – I’m standing in a room, in front of 60 Veriffians, and it's our rebrand launch presentation. Microphone in hand, attempting to conceal my trembling hand. I admit I was nervous and excited at the same time. I threw a question to the audience: "Coca-Cola's color? Red. Starbucks? Green. Veriff?" The response? A symphony of puzzled expressions and laughs. Veriff's old colors were nice, but they lacked vibrancy and didn't leave a memorable impression.

It was evident that our previous brand identity lacked a signature Veriff shade – a color that unmistakably represented us. So, we needed a color that was uniquely Veriff. And we found it – Atlantis. When you see it, you can't help but say, "Ah, there you are Veriff!"

It's important to acknowledge the extensive effort that went into finding the perfect Atlantis shade and complementary colors. I distinctly recall Cesar Zeppini, our Design System Lead and later Head of Design, along with Martin Kikkas, our Product Designer, testing these colors within our digital products, website and design system. Their feedback proved invaluable.

Our collaboration resulted in a color palette that not only gives our brand a unique look but also works well everywhere, especially in our digital products while meeting high accessibility standards. Thanks to Cesar and Rauno, developer for the design system, the transition to our new brand in our digital products was quick and easy. Normally, a complete rebranding can take months or even close to a year. However, because of the way the design system was planned and set up, we were able to launch the new brand in our products in just a few weeks.

Over time, our palette evolved, and with the help of Sajjad Abedi we created the extended colour pallet adapting to our company's growing needs supporting our digital product and illustrations.

Capturing Veriff's Essence

From the beginning, photography was a cornerstone. Veriff's verification process relies on photos of faces and documents. The goal was not only to promote the identity verification services of Veriff, they were also used as guidance for our users in how to take pictures for a successful verification.

With Jake's Farra expertise, we created a photography style that echoed our brand colors and spoke about identity verification (IDV). We stuck to three key principles: including the Atlantis shade, keeping it clean and real, and capturing our users in their natural environments.

The Magic of Illustrations

Not everything we do can be captured in a photo or screenshots of our product. This is where illustrations come in. They help explain complex ideas in a simpler way. Whether it's fraud, transparency, or the impact of IDV in various industries like mobility, fintech and crypto, illustrations simplify the narrative.

Before the rebrand, Veriff used beautiful 3D illustrations. They looked nice but didn't explain things well – they were too abstract. So, we used this existing isometric 3D style while adding recognizable characters and elements that people could relate easily with concepts like identity verification, fraud, and protection. The initial concept was created by the talented agency Afilm, and our team took it further, reproducing and evolving the illustrations to create Veriff's unique illustration universe.

Bringing It All Together
The Veriff Brand in Action

From the website to product design, ads to social media, the brand identity elements seamlessly infiltrated every touchpoint. Veriff's identity no longer just adorned by its digital and print materials. It became the heartbeat, woven throughout everything we produced, communicating Veriff’s mission to protect people and businesses in the digital realm.

The Brand Impact

The story of Veriff's evolution encapsulates the journey of a brand that transformed itself, aligning its visual identity with its audacious goals. From a modest start to attaining unicorn status with over 350 employees worldwide, Veriff's brand identity played a pivotal role in the brand's incredible trajectory. Through dedication, innovation, and the spirit of transformation, Veriff proved that the right brand identity could not only distinguish a brand but also propel it to extraordinary heights.

During this transformative journey, Veriff forged significant partnerships with industry giants like Wise, Bolt, Uphold, Rebelion, Visa, Monese and Monzo, further cementing its position as a unicorn. The brand's reimagined identity not only captured attention but also attracted key players in the financial, gaming, mobility, and technological sectors.

In 2022, after Veriff became a Unicorn, they undertook a new rebrand. The company was growing rapidly, and maturing within the market, and this meant the personality needed to shift once again, from a fresh face on the market to a major player. The brand identity needed to now project Veriff’s growing place in the verification ecosystem as the business required.  

This doesn’t detract from the work undertaken in those early years, building a personality for a brand which went from an idea on the island of Hiiumaa to a major Estonian Unicorn in very little time. Brand journeys don’t simply stand still, and the brand our team created in 2019 was an important step on Veriff’s path to where the company is today.

The Team Behind the Curtain

The Veriff brand was the result of a collective symphony, orchestrated by a team of dedicated individuals working in unison. Triin Uustalu (Former CMO) and Karita Sall (VP of Global Communications at Veriff), both of the management team played pivotal roles in launching and continuously elevating the rebranding expedition.

Guiding the creative compass was myself David Castillo, who captained the ship of creative and art direction for the brand, and managed the brand platform, including its DAM (Digital Asset Management). I also played a significant role in the UX/UI design for our website, which was later taken under the experienced care of Olha Halytska. Let's not forget Jaanus Post, who led the development team behind Veriff's website.

The iconic Veriff logo, brought to life by Heidi Taperson's ingenious touch, became the cornerstone of our visual identity and seamlessly found its place within our products. Kaspar Kuus and Felix Paula, the design mavens, meticulously shaped visual elements, forging materials for our social media, events, animations, videos and any other touchpoints that vividly narrate Veriff's story.

Under the leadership of Brett and latter on Cesar Zeppini, along with Heidi Taperson, Martin Kikkas, Kristel Roosimaa, and Sajjad Abedi, our product designers and talented front end developer Rauno skilfully weaved the brand into our design system and products.

Merili Muru and Sindi Sindija Vītola kept our journey on track, demonstrating their adept project management skills. Sarah Hamid and Patrick Johnson, the custodians of Veriff's narrative, ensured that our brand message and story remained engaging, purposeful, and in alignment with Veriff's vision and personality.

And of course a shoutout is owed to Kaarel Kotkas (Veriff’s founder & CEO) and Janer Gorohhov (CPO and Co-Founder at Veriff) for their support, feedback, and shared vision that propelled Veriff's brand journey forward.

Get in touch!

Do you want to create an unique brand and digital experience, that engages, and is loved by everyone? I create intentionally with a focus on achieving your business goals, drive growth and reach your next milestone.

Let's connect and explore how I can contribute to your success!

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