As you'll note if you visit our homepage, we believe in offering a tailored service to ensure what we provide to our customers is exactly what they need.
It's an ethos we subscribe to across our web hosting, streaming and connectivity services. So, when it came to telling people about our various services, it made sense to follow that bespoke approach.
We brought in the excellent Belfast-based design agency Thought Collective to create a set of product icons covering each of Tibus' services.
No, it's not quite as grand as Facebook commissioning Frank Gehry to work on their new campus, but it's our equivalent on a much smaller scale. We're investing in original art (in this case art that helps our business) and enjoying the process of talented people making things.
For us, it's an extension of the value we place on things that are designed specifically for purpose. It doesn't matter whether it's the specification of a new private cloud server or the graphic that illustrates it on our website.
Anyway, we also believe in working with and listening to experts in their field, so here's Thought Collective creative director Sam Bell to talk us through the work.
Tibus: What is the purpose of icons like these, generally speaking?
Sam Bell: Icon design is part-semiotics and part-graphic design. Symbols can only be understood in a context and ‘take-on’, or are understood to have, a singular meaning over time rather than being innately endowed with signification. This is the case whether an icon uses a literal or figurative elements.
The ubiquitous ‘hamburger’ icon is a great example, where three straight lines on websites and applications have come to mean ‘navigation’.
Tibus: Tell us about the brief for this project.
SB: Having partnered with the team at Tibus to develop their brand and position them as a key player in secure hosting services, it was natural to partner up again when an icon set was required for their many service and product capabilities.
The visual elements in the Tibus brand are flexible and solid - just like their services - and the brief for the icons was very straightforward: create a set of distinctive icons that will complement the established brand platform.
Tibus: How would you describe the completed Tibus icon set?
SB: The Tibus icon set is almost exclusively figurative. We have taken the concepts of connectedness, distribution and communication and represented them using lines, circles and arrows. Even the necessary ‘cloud' is figurative language, albeit given a literal form.
So, while the Tibus icons are not - and are not meant to be - ‘understood’ simply by seeing the symbol, the coherence and expression of the set helps to convey the organised and unified approach to hosting services that Tibus provides.
Tibus: Do you have a favourite?
SB: Not as such. The full set of icons work brilliantly together and it would be hard to single out just one. Having said that, after I created the first draft, which set the direction for the set, Louise developed the style brilliantly and her favourite (right) is yet to find a home. There are quite a lot of icons which didn’t find a home this time round and might represent new products or services in the future.