The discussion began in the early months of 2012.
Having decided what we did not want to call our nascent business, the somewhat more challenging task of creating not just a name but an identity hove into view. We knew we didn’t want a pun on books or reading, and we didn’t want some portmanteau blend of our co-founder names. Suggestions were made and rejected. Sitting in a delightfully oxymoronic open-plan meeting room at the advertising agency Creature in the heart of London’s Shoreditch, we were finally about to see the fruits of some exhaustive brainstorming as to what might just be acceptable to all our (can hardly bring myself to say it) stakeholders.
Cue a set of foam-backed boards taken from the large portfolio folder owned by designer Sam Muir (later a creative director working with Calvin Harris, Jessie Ware and Daisy Lowe, amongst others). A name. whitefox. An adaptable animal that’s fleet of foot but camouflaged and discreet whenever required. All lower-case. (Little did we know then quite how many people would try to tell us that – d’oh! – there was a typo in our own company name on our first website.) And a logo. A delicate upper-case W incorporating a playful, alert Arctic fox tail. A clean, identifiable imprimatur. Which we aim from the get-go to make a kitemark of quality. In an early blog post, we proudly exclaim that we are ‘born modern’. Isn’t everybody? someone comments. Not Jacob Rees-Mogg, we reply.
Fast-forward to 2023.
A new brief for a new designer, a chance to reflect on what our little company has evolved into. A grown-up creative agency. Greater than the sum of our parts by virtue of external relations, fostered over many years with the best, most trusted freelancers we can find. We know creators want to see us and engage with the expertise and provenance of our in-house team. The camouflage of old is gone. We want to be seen as contemporary. Sophisticated and mature but not austere and aloof.
An introduction to the talented Jack Plant, creative director at Sunshine. And we can say hello to Whitefox 2.0. Liberated from the lower-case W. Paying homage to print and books (what else?). Still quite foxy, we think.
Above all, we hope our new logo represents the creative, inclusive, dynamic and trustworthy agency partner we strive to be for our writers and brands.
Looking back to our launch in 2012, we said some daft things. OK, I said some daft things. We talked about the Uberisation of book services. And creating an Airbnb for publishing. Turns out making books is not fast food, short car journeys or weekend breaks. We thought the technology that was disrupting the industry would mean a production line of apps and enhanced eBooks. Instead, what writers wanted then is what they still want now: creative control and beautiful books, whatever the format or platform.
So you’ll forgive me if I resist the temptation to sound off about what’s next for Whitefox in a publishing world swirling with the implications of the latest developments in anything from AI to TikTok. I’d rather say: let’s turn the page and see how the next chapter unfolds.