IN-House

Aunt Bertha:
Wayfinding for Help

Aunt Bertha built the Social Care Network. Its new identity design thoughtfully expresses its values and character so the brand is set up to support the company’s growth.

Founded in 2010, Aunt Bertha has grown from a scrappy, Austin-only search platform for people seeking care to a 100+ person company that powers social care in every county in the United States, making social care more effective and easier to access for millions of people.

Making social care better led the company to broaden its audience, serving people who provide care, whether that’s nonprofits or healthcare networks. They’d built a company website to create awareness of their products and services for providers, but felt the design and messaging needed to be tightened. Aunt Bertha offers different products for different audiences, so the website needed to be easy navigate and understand. It also needed to feel like Aunt Bertha, so potential partners got a sense of the company’s values.

ContentIllustration & LetteringDigital & WebBrandingTypographyPrint & Editorial

This was the first challenge: the site needed to embody Aunt Bertha’s brand, but the identity—centered on an illustrated mascot with a sassy wink and a gray-teal-pink-red palette—didn’t really feel in tune with the company’s values and mission anymore. It didn’t help that the brand was also eroding: assets weren’t always available to people, or compatible with everyone’s technology. That meant that different teams were using different fonts, or eyeballing color, or creating iconography on the fly, so there wasn’t a consistent brand identity across the company.

The website project created the opportunity for Aunt Bertha to rediscover who they had become, and to design a voice and visual identity that effectively expressed their mission and values.

Redesigning the Aunt Bertha brand started with learning about who Aunt Bertha had become. We spoke with customers and partners and team members and found that the ‘brand values’ they’d written a decade earlier had evolved in the minds of partners, team members, and even people searching the platform.

Aunt Bertha found that stakeholder perceptions of the company matched the way they saw themselves. We just had to translate it into a brand universe that expressed it accurately to new people and to do it in a way that made the brand easy to use for its rapidly expanding team.

We ran a visual translation exercise to get a sense of how values translated to colors, shapes and styles. After a couple of refinement rounds, the new Aunt Bertha logo was completed: all lowercase, white letters on a simple circle, and a rounded, stacked wordmark created from custom-drawn letters.

When it came to the brand’s application, we chose colors and fonts that would be beautiful but also practical, easy to find, and simple use. We chose Source Sans Pro for their font; is easily accessed through Google Fonts and so many of their brand materials are held and created using google docs / slides.

In parallel, we worked with the Aunt Bertha marketing and stories team to recommend and then codify the brand’s voice and tone, complete with grammatical rules and tone samples for different contexts.

Their previous brand spawned many different versions because rules weren’t clear, assets were scattered, and it wasn’t designed to prioritize compatibility. This rebrand came with a broad set of ready-to-use templates internally accessed through google drive and designed to be used without fussing over layout or styling. Styles are pre-set so team members can focus on the content. The font and templates set allowed us to roll out the brand to everyone in the company without worrying about compatibility. A set of specialized templates were created for designers in the company to use and adapt for business cards, trade show flyers, postcards and so on.

Finally, we circled back to the website. Working closely with Aunt Bertha marketing leadership, we defined very specific goals for the company website that aligned with broader strategic goals. After reviewing analytics and interviewing different users, we reorganized the site, cutting out over 70% of the pages on the previous version of the site which sought to serve too many interests at once. Finally, using the new voice and tone guide, we wrote the website’s copy so that essential information is transmitted in Aunt Bertha’s voice.

Aunt Bertha’s identity package includes a new logo, color palette and font, plus a set of custom patterns and branded styles and flourishes, a custom icon set, a custom buildable illustration kit with make-your-own-composition instructions, infographic styles for three different platforms, color use samples, 20+ brand-in-use mockups and a 100+ page brand guide with specifications for using all assets and fonts. For the brand voice, we developed a master voice and tone guide with over 20 pages of guidelines plus an abridged version for quick reference or onboarding collaborators and writers.

We also delivered a haul of ready-to-use templates; google docs general use templates, styled presentation decks, proposal templates, video and motion lower-thirds, business cards and postcards, trade show booths, book designs, proposals, t-shirts, and, of course, the Aunt Bertha company website.