If it's okay for Spotify...

I was recently invited back to a company I worked with 2-3 years ago. They had just started out and were finalizing their prototype. We did a voice and tone analysis, and all felt great with the result. Fast forward to today, and they are no longer in the same place. They've developed, sharpened the message they want to project, and have lots of customers, The analysis of yesteryear feels a bit naïve.


Recently, Spotify notified the world that they'd created a new style guide. Their original was created in 2013.

These are Spotify's 2020 core design principles (and the image is theirs).

Spotify’s original design principles were from 2013, and at the time they did a lot to help shape a collective voice across design in the organization.

The emphasis in the above quote is mine.


One of the main goals in a voice and tone analysis is to identify the brand's personality. We want the brand to sound like a person who relates to the user, is relevant to them, and provides a consistent experience. Part of this process is to define three core values of the company that must be reflected in copy, messages, and design.


Going back to Spotify:

Now, in 2020, Spotify has changed quite a bit. We’ve grown into an audio first company and doubled down on podcasts; we create products for listeners, artists, and advertisers; and we went from a handful of designers to almost 200. 
Looking at the existing principles, we asked ourselves: Do they still feel true to all of the things we design? Are designers at Spotify even aware of them? The answer was...no. 

And there you have it. Brands grow, maybe even pivot, and the design language might need updating. Don't be afraid to shake things up and rethink your core values and design principles to keep you relevant to your users.

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