Does Ember have a short list of brand principles?
If so (I genuinely don’t know), could someone point me to them? If not, maybe we could kickstart a process of figuring them out.
I’m asking because as more folks get involved in the Ember project, having a short list of brand principles to refer to could help ensure that all our web properties and projects stay aligned & communicate the things we care about.
I thought about this because recently I’ve been working on Addon Docs, and I’ve done most of the design for that myself. But I want to make sure the design represents Ember’s brand – but to do that, I need to first know what Ember’s brand is. The same is true for others working on the homepage & other sites in our ecosystem.
What is a brand?
I am not a trained designer and would love some input from those with more experience, but here are some things I’ve learned over the past year as I’ve worked through branding issues, both for my own company and for clients:
- Values are not the brand. Ember has some well-defined values like “Stability without stagnation” and “A framework for ambitious developers”. These influence the brand, but are not the brand.
- A logo is not a brand. We can define & refine our brand without changing our logo.
- Branding is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. You can’t control the process, but you can influence it. 
- Branding is not what you say it is – it’s what they say it is. 
What I’d like to see is us come up with a list of 3-4 attributes that embody Ember’s brand. That’s a short list that anybody in the community can use to ask if their project aligns with.
Take a look at Airbnb’s :
These words are about how people feel about Airbnb. So when thinking of our own brand, how do we want people to feel about Ember?
I started thinking about this and wanted to jot down some notes.
I started with “Stability without stagnation”, perhaps the most defining value of Ember. So, how does SWS make me feel?
- comforted, secure, stable, safe, protected, supported, confident, guided, guarded, escorted, mentored, assisted, helped, accompanied
“Stable but not stagnant” is actually quite close to a brand principle.
It’s also helpful to discuss the “nots”, the things we don’t want people to feel about Ember. So if we say we want folks to feel “secure”, it doesn’t mean we want them to feel “locked-in” or “confined”
- not stagnant, not locked-in, not confined
Next, all the Ember apps I’ve worked on always felt modern and up-to-date, even if they were years-old. That’s an amazing thing. There is some overlap here with SWS, but “not stagnant” takes a defensive position on the “modern” question. I’d like some positive words (because a modern Ember app does, in fact, feel like it belongs alongside other contemporary frameworks).
- modern, up-to-date, contemporary, current, advanced
And the nots:
- not cutting-edge, not sterile, not fashionable, not trending, not hip
One of my favorite things about Ember is its community. When I think about Ember, I can’t help but think about all the friendly people I know, how welcoming and encouraging DockYard was when I first got started with Ember, and how much I look forward to seeing everyone at conferences each year. Ember is also deliberate about being inclusive through initiatives like Women Helping Women.
- friendly, welcoming, inclusive, caring, fun, warm, approachable
And the nots:
- not weak, not delicate, not fragile, not yielding, not lax, not permissive, not overly tolerant, not compromising
Finally, Ember makes me feel very productive. I trust the leaders who put thought into its architecture and design. I like that there’s a complete toolkit at my disposal, and there’s guide rails for each next step I take as I develop an app.
- productive, trust-worthy, unified, integrated, all-inclusive, complete, thorough, in-depth, broad
And the nots:
- not exclusive, not incompatible, not stifling
If I had to pull the trigger right now, I want Ember to feel
- productive, but not overwhelming
- modern, but not cutting-edge
- integrated, but not stifling
- stable, but not stagnant
- friendly, but not compromising
I know I broke my rule of 3-4, but I’m spitballing here. Also, this list is part how Ember makes me feel today, and part vision for the future.
So, what do you think? How does Ember make you feel? How do you want it to make you feel? How do you want others to feel when they use Ember for the first time, or for 3 years?
Let’s get the discussion going!