Studio Maya Rebrand
Written by
Creative Director

Slap a new logo on -  job done, right?

Our last rebrand was back in 2018, well over 4.5 years ago now. This was a big one for us at the time - not only was it the creation of Maya (previously we were Yadda) but it was also a full studio effort. We all came together to agree on the name and the direction we wanted to take the brand in.

We loved the brand and, in particular, the logo.

Our old logo along with one of the murals Tim Penfold painted for us back in the old studio.

So why the refresh?

For exactly the same reason that we tell our clients. A brand shouldn’t be set in stone, it should always be open to evolution. We are a very different studio to what we were 4 years ago (we all know what happened in that space and how much that impacted the industry).

There's no doubt it’s been a bit of a wild rollercoaster, but we are heading into 2023 in our strongest position to date. We’re proud of where we are and it feels right for our brand to reflect that.

A brand shouldn’t be set in stone, it should always be open to evolution.

A brand is so much more than just a logo. It’s about how you communicate, how you make people feel and the overall experience you offer. There was a lot we loved about our previous brand - but it no longer felt like it was representing us correctly. It’s important to look past an attachment and be able to dissect it.

We broke this down to 4 key areas we wanted to address…

The logo

While we loved the old logo and the concept behind it, and as a piece of design it was visually pleasing, we no longer felt like it represented Maya anymore. This was certainly a hard decision for some people to make. Logos are such an ownable part of a brand and so there can be a huge attachment to them. But it’s super important to understand what it communicates.

One of our core design principles is accessibility and while the logo was conceptually and visually "nice", it wasn’t easy to read and in general just wasn’t communicating who we actually were. We are a friendly, approachable group of individuals who work directly with clients on all our projects. The harsh lines and optically serif style just didn’t align with this image.

Illustrations / Imagery

I don’t think I need to go into too much detail on the illustrations here. In short, the Alegria illustration style made famous through Facebook has gone on to become the de facto faceless corporate look. At the time we created our illustration style, we had an in-house illustrator and it was right for us then as it was fresh and gave us flexibility - but it got very played out and it’s something that if we were to approach again would be done differently.

Something we’ve always had compliments on is how we communicate our studio life with our photography. So this is something we want to lean back into more as it’s so much more authentic to us. More photos of real shit.

Communication / Tone of Voice

This was certainly a big area of improvement for us. We have previously worked with freelance copywriters but we have since grown to have our own marketing team and handle all of this in house. Georgia, our Head of Marketing, will be writing a more in-depth article on how we approached our tone of voice, messaging and communication style.


Something often overlooked is what your offering is as a brand. However, this one of the most important elements of it - as it should align with your audience and who you need to be creating your brand for.

As mentioned above, our offering has changed a lot over the last few years. Most notably with the establishment of our Digital Marketing team. Our Design and Development offerings have also grown and continue to do so, with more in the works for this year.

A big part of this whole rebranding process has pivoted around this.

What about the studio bit?

So the elephant in the room is the ‘studio’ bit. Those of you that are familiar with our studio, you may have noticed we’re now Studio Maya, not just Maya.

Interestingly we have always been Studio Maya Limited. As with a lot of company names, the use of just Maya came around with what domain names were available and we ended up rolling with and subsequently just Maya as our brand name.

We’re not binning this off either. We still refer to ourselves as Maya internally and I’m sure clients will continue to as well. One word is always easier to say than two right?

The shift really is the ‘agency’ bit. We are small team (and intend to keep it this way) and we all have direct lines of communication with our clients - which means they can speak directly to the people who can give them the best answers and vice versa, so we can get quick answers from our clients when we need them. We feel that studio best reflects this intimate and compact feel.

One of the important things to discuss when you rebrand is what you’re not happy about or doesn’t feel right for your brand. What you feel needs to change. And the majority of the team agreed that none of us really refer to ourselves as an agency as we don’t conform to a lot the typical normals of an agency and ‘agency life’. Being totally transparent, the word agency just made us feel a bit ick.

We have been a fully remote studio coming up to 3 years as writing this. While the majority of the team are in Bristol still, we are located across the country in a few different cities. We can expand on how we've made this work so well - but the relevance here is that we all have our own studio spaces, some of us in multiple locations. We might not have a single studio space any more but we are a collective of individual physical studios who work in a virtual studio space. This is also where a lot of our clients interact with us for meetings too - in our virtual studio Cosmos. We regularly meet up in person too, as there is huge importance in maintaining that!

Our process

As an internal project, it’s easy to sideline a rebrand to client work and allow it to never happen. Being totally honest, we’d liked to have rebranded sooner, but 2022 was a very busy year, so we committed to treating this as any other project and laid out our timeline and milestones to get it done on time and on budget.


All projects start with a workshop. This is the best way to get everyone on the same page. Doing this internally is also a great opportunity to refine this process for clients.

An overview from our workshop.

It never ceases to amaze me how different peoples' opinions on things can be when you assumed they would be aligned. It’s so important to start a project like this and make sure you have conversations around all of it so that not only people get on the same page- but that they come out of the workshop excited about what we’re going to be creating together.

As it was an internal project, we had the luxury of being far more responsive to ideas and, as we were all so well aligned, we could take a much lighter approach to our next stage: moodboarding and concepting.

Can we have a bit of appreciation for Lydia using her graduation photo for mock up purposes here!

We were very quickly able to narrow our options down to two clear directions and while we ending up going with the direction from the right above, there were some elements of the left direction we wanted to pull across.

Lydia and I then started working simultaneously on the next phase of development: working on logo concepts and then starting to concept how the brand would be implemented, taking into consideration typography options while locking down colour palettes.

The logo

The thing that became apparent when we started developing the logo was that we wanted to go down the route of having an icon. This actually lead us to a really important self-discovery.

Some pull-out process from the logo discovery and development.

We were getting distracted by the idea that there needed to be a concept. This is why it’s important to make sure throughout a whole process that you give yourself time to step back, breathe and come back with fresh eyes. There’s nothing more helpful than leaving something at the end of the day and coming back the next day or after the weekend and picking it back up again once you’ve had some time away.

Essentially, rather than focusing on a concept, which was actually detaching ourselves from being authentic, we realised that the logo - in particular, the icon - needed to be about how it made us feel. The general consensus was that everyone liked the little face in the ‘M’ and that it epitomised the general studio vibe. Friendly, approachable and, most importantly, happy. The little face was agreed as a new mascot for Maya.

Final S shortlist refinement. Or more commonly known as the 'what am I looking at?'

After numerous iterations and refinement of the letters in the wordmark, the last group call was just on how the ‘S’ was going to look. Everyone’s opinions and thoughts were taken into consideration and the final version of the wordmark was put together. The final finish was then applied to the icon.

The results

We’re super happy with how the brand has come together and we look forward to talking more about the other areas of the business beyond the visual and the impact that it's had there.

For now, from the creative side, I’ll leave you with some bits to look at. We hope you like it as much as we do.