“Yo, last year was 'bout brandin', this one about
Benny The Butcher, Burden of Proof
— Me, for the last week
After over 2 years of being known as “Figmatic”, we've just finished rebranding to “Hypermatic” (a caffeinated form of “automatic”) in 5 days.
It's a pretty boring story... we were nicely asked by Figma (the design tool that our plugins can be used with) to change our name to avoid any branding conflicts; which is all good, and makes sense to avoid any potential confusion.
Nothing else has changed on our end besides our name, domain, logo and a bit of an aesthetic website refresh. The sole mission to reduce the distance between design and production closer to zero remains unchanged.
If you'd like to torture yourself and learn more about how the rebrand actually came about from zero to finished in 5 days, feel free to read on below.
Figmatic origin story
"Figmatic" was born as a play on words with the 1994 Nas album "Illmatic", which my friends Scott and Marty came up with for their article "Figmatic: Why Figma will be remembered as a genre-defining classic", which was based on an underrated talk with the same name that they both gave at the DesignOps Melbourne meetup back in 2018.
When I decided to quit my full-time job back in 2019 and take the chance of going all-in on building Figma plugins, "Figmatic" was the obvious choice to me to describe what I wanted to work on, making certain workflows more automatic.
Being kindly asked to rebrand
I was made aware via email that our "Figmatic" name and domain was in breach of Figma's own brand guidelines, and we were kindly asked to change the business name and domain.
My initial reaction was surprise, as we've been publishing Figma plugins as "Figmatic" for over 2 years without any issues, and of course, didn't intend to cause any conflicts; but I very quickly realised that the only option was to change the name and domain of the business as soon as possible.
To give me some context, my friend Scott recommended season 2 of the What Had Happened Was podcast, which covers the story of El-P (one half of the Run The Jewels hip-hop duo, along with Killer Mike), where El-P also had some issues with his music label name.
This podcast was kind of a consistent backdrop during the course of the week whenever working on the rebrand (which I instantly became obsessed with taking care of as quickly as possible) took a backseat to minor inconveniences (eg. eating dinner) between work hours.
Rebranding in 5 days
Knowing that I needed to act fairly quickly on this, I read a couple of books about coming up with new brand names, and they basically said that if you have a really good team, the renaming process could even be as quick as 5 weeks.
5 weeks clearly wasn't an option. I'm a big fan of the book Zero to One by Peter Thiel, and one of the many great questions asked in that book is:
If you have a 10-year plan and know how to get there, you have to ask why can't you do this in 6 months?
I thought that if it was supposed to take 5 weeks just to come up with a new business name, why couldn't you not only pick a new name, but also rebrand the visuals and update everything everything else that comes along with it in 5 days (instead of 5 weeks)?
So that's how long it ended up taking, and it looked something like this:
- Have a brief existential crisis, then decide to take action.
- Read a couple of books about coming up with new brand names
- Create a creative brief (taken from Hello, My Name Is Awesome).
- Stay up until midnight coming up with some initial ideas.
- Continue coming up with more more ideas for the new name based on the creative brief.
- Write a few Node scripts to mash a bunch of words together into a massive list with different combinations.
- Run that massive list through a bulk domain lookup tool to figure out which .com domains on the list other people had listed for sale.
- Narrow the list down to "Hypermatic" as the new business name later that night.
- Purchase the .com domain from someone who already owned it.
- Reserve some social/website "@" handles were available for the new name.
- Start designing a new logo, aesthetics, copy, colours, assets etc.
- Work until later that night, lots of creative exploration while playing random mix of Japanese City Pop songs, BABYMETAL albums, and some other old school 90s hip-hop sets in the background.
- Finalize the new logo and visual branding.
- Start refactoring code.
- Redesign/refresh the website in the browser using HTML/CSS.
- Swap in any updated brand, colours, logos, type, copy changes.
- Prepare as much as technically possible for the migration.
Flicking the (many) switches today
After everything above had been prepared, the bottleneck was waiting for the new domain to be transferred over, and then propagated to the new DNS.
Once everything had been propegated and was ready to roll, all of Sunday March 27th, 2022 was spent flicking many switches that needed to be pulled to migrate over this website, the documentation site, email accounts, Figma account, Twitter account (etc) to the new name.
Figmatic is dead, long live Hypermatic
Now that Figmatic is ether and the rebrand to Hypermatic is finished, it's time to get back to work on getting back to future.
“Ayo, the brother's Stillmatic. I crawled up out of that grave, wiping the dirt, cleaning my shirt. They thought I'll make another Illmatic, but it's always forward I'm moving never backwards stupid, here's another classic.”
— Stillmatic (The Intro), Nas
Please feel free to send an email to my new address at [email protected] if you have any questions about the rebrand.