““Why”, said Y”
Established in 2015, Yopa (short for “Your Online Property Agent”) is a real estate agency based in London, UK, that provides home sellers an online platform combined with personal agent assistance and a fixed fee (instead of the usual percentage) to more easily put their houses on the market and get them sold. Forbes has a good story on the company and the context of the real estate market in the UK (mainly pointing out the lack of rigor from real estate agents and a governing body compared to their U.S. counterparts). Aside from listing properties on their site, Yopa submits to the big real estate portals and gives more control to the seller. Earlier this month, Yopa introduced a new identity designed by London-based SomeOne.
‘It’s Personal’ quickly became our strategic rudder, this naturally led us to a visual style based on a flexible speech bubble that visualises the voices of the agents themselves, but also of the customer. On top of this it doubles a neat location marker for pulling out properties on maps. Simple and flexible.
What’s really clever is how the speech bubble interacts with the ‘Y’ symbol and even creates a lovely bit of ‘smile in the mind’ with a second hidden ‘Y’ in the negative space. A subtle nod to the notion that it’s Your Yopa.
SomeOne provided text
We designed the colour scheme as a progression of the original to allow existing customers to feel at ease, knowing it was still the same brand they already knew and trusted, just with a fresh, bright new attitude. The colour update also tackled usability issues online — all the new colours pass screen accessibility requirements which was paramount given their majority online presence.
SomeOne provided text
The old logo was painfully bad, with a tiny door awkwardly placed to the left of the “Y” and a horrible intrusion from the “O” into the “P”. It looked like a wannabe real estate agency operating from a shack on the side of the road… In other words, not very trustworthy-looking and not consumer-friendly enough. The new logo doesn’t quite say “real estate” but it certainly “says” a lot, with a speech bubble as its main graphic hook. Usually, speech bubbles are cliché and unoriginal but this one manages to be surprising and innovative, visually creating a stencil-like “Y” that becomes highly recognizable and, to boot, functional in application. The hidden “Y”, while cool and clever, may actually be a detriment because then it makes you wonder what that second “Y” stands for and even though the quote above explains it’s “Your Yopa”, that’s a stretch. Still, it’s a bold, playful mark that has been paired nicely with a bold sans serif using a double-storey “a”, instead of the expected circle and stick of geometric sans everywhere.
When used in isolation the ‘Y’ symbol becomes part of the brand language meaning we can ask questions like ‘Y sell with Yopa?’ or ‘Y wouldn’t you?’, starting truly branded dialogues and narrative.
Patterns and illustrations were introduced to bring extra charm and help tell more detailed parts of the Yopa story, especially online where they have a lot to say. Yopa’s in house teams continue to add new illustrations daily as the brand rolls out, further enriching the brand’s assets.
SomeOne provided text
In application, the speech bubble breaks from expectations by sticking to the “Y” and expanding upwards and to the right to accommodate messaging. It’s a great graphic behavior that keeps the emphasis on the “Y” and establishes as the anchor for the identity. The typography looks great in the bubble and the color variations keep things lively.
The print applications get a little too busy at times or maybe it’s that the colors are too heavy-handed — the lack of white backgrounds may have something to do with this feeling. But they definitely stand out and look and feel different from the typical real estate corporate materials.
Outside of my jurisdiction are some TV spots that, to me, feel like they are trying way too hard to be quirky and they feel at complete odds with what the identity is trying to convey, which is clear, transparent, easy communication. Overall, and ignoring the spots, this is a great redesign that takes a visual cliché and makes it ownable for the company while giving Yopa a much more consumer-friendly, market-ready presence.