Joomla! is an award-winning content management system (CMS), which enables you to build Web sites and powerful online applications. Best of all, Joomla! is an open source solution that is freely available to everyone. Founded in 2005, Joomla! is a volunteer project run by thousands of volunteers around the world, Joomlers. After more than 10 years in the tech market, the second most famous CMS in the world didn’t have any brand system in place, just a strong and recognisable signature.
Joomla! is changing the world through digital experiences by promoting the Open Source philosophy and inspiring thousand of people around the world.
The Marketing Team was called to organise and individuate the company/organisation to build a unified, meaningful identity for the Joomla! project
Ruth Cheesley, Virya Group CEO and Joomla! project manager, and Chiara Aliotta, our own art director and Joomla! brand manager, together with a team of volunteers (a mix of designers, developers, marketing strategists), worked on creating few strong tools that would facilitate not only the communication of the Joomla! project, but also inspire and empower the Community.
As a team, we interviewed a wide range of stakeholders, including affiliates, sponsors, leaders and members of the Open Source Matters (the legal organisation behind the Joomla! project). We used a range of tools (including some of those proposed to be used in this project) to gather both qualitative and quantitative data which was used to inform the project.
The most frequently mentioned attribute that defined Joomla! was “community”, followed by “open source” and “passion”.
A survey conducted online within the international community demonstrated that the most recognisable element of Joomla! was its logo (although we found more than 3 variations of the brandmark and each local organisation - called JUG (Joomla! User Groups) - often had its own personalised version).
We soon realised that the Joomla! brand identity needed to be recognised in a more wide and complete aspect. It was clear that the logo alone doesn’t make a brand system, but it definitely was a good starting point to give the project a strong visual presence.
Our team re-designed the Joomla! brandmark, refining the shapes and the colours, the kerning of the logotype and repositioning the tagline. The Joomla! brandmark is the symbol of the community and represents values including cooperation, fairness, integrity and leadership. To guarantee its integrity we defined specific rules on the correct use of the brandmark across different applications.
The brand colour palette was crafted based on the four colours of the Joomla! brandmark and, successively expanded to cover even more exigent requests.
Typography and imagery came next as part of the strategic process to enrich the visual identity of the company.
Our active involvement in the community often meant that we were consulted when volunteers were designing more collateral materials, such as websites, banners, booths, special event logotypes, event swag and even the Joomla! heart, the tangible symbol of the passion and commitment of the Joomlers.
All the brand identity concepts were discussed openly with the community throughout the process, and our role as leaders in the project was crucial in managing conflicts, disagreements, and discussion, making sure that the team working on the project were able to maintain focus yet ensuring that everybody who wished to express their opinions was able to do so in a respectful way which was always heard with ‘open ears’.
The way we ran the branding process in an open, consultative way meant that the community felt they could approach the team to seek guidance, rather than create something which did not comply with the guidelines. This was a very significant (and positive) change, resulting in an improvement across the board in the quality of design work being produced - both officially and by volunteers representing the community.
The new brand identity was not announced to the press or highlighted on the Joomla! website until relatively recently. Sensitive to the perception of the community and stakeholders, the leadership team decided to execute a “soft launch” of the new identity and work from within to improve the use of the branding guidelines - leading by example and showing how applying them improves the standards.
We all agree that it was important that Joomla did not appear to be a “different” organisation, and that the brand guidelines were not a ‘stick to beat people with’ but a useful resource to help them create awesome design work.
Joomla! will always be considered the project that changed the future of the CMS forever, by inspiring many Open Source initiatives and new generations of volunteers.
Joomla! business cards designed in collaboration with Alexander Metzler. Photos by Joe Sonne, featuring Duke Speer.
Joomla! stand and booth designed in collaboration with Gavin Hookham.
Joomla! 10 Years logotype designed in collaboration with Brian Coale.