bbbbrands and Crafting the Perfect Tagline

This is the second in an ongoing series of posts about, a new project I’m working on with my good friend and fellow brand loyalist Noah Stokes. If you missed it or just need a recap, here’s part 1.

As Noah and I began to talk through the initial gist of bbbbrands and I started some sketches and typography explorations for an identity, I also began the task of thinking through taglines. Not every brand needs a tagline, but in this case it made sense to craft a line of copy that described the site’s core functionality to the user and helped us have a clear mission as we design and build it. A statement of purpose helps the user know exactly what value we’re providing to them and it gives us a main identifier for decision-making (e.g. does X or Y feature fall into what the tagline describes us as? If not, kill it.)

Here’s the first round of tagline attempts: 

All of these more or less describe what the site will be full of, but there are problems with them, too. There’s way too much “brand” in there. The site name already has it, so repeating it in the tagline, especially twice, is overkill. These choices are passive. They’re a description of something, not an action or a call to participate. Some of the language of each individual tagline doesn’t hold up. What’s a label recommendation (#2)? What if they aren’t actually new recommendations (#4)? Are they really the best (#5)? All of these fall short.

As Noah and I bantered back and forth on IM (this is a bicoastal operation we’re running here) we settled on the concepts of sharing and discovering as the main verbs we want our users to engage in. Are you looking for recommendations for a new messenger bag? We want you to discover trusted brands on bbbbrands. Do you absolutely love your new American Apparel Tri-Blend Track Shirt? We want you to share that on bbbbrands.

The passivity is gone, but #6 still suffers from word overkill, #7 feels awkward, and #8 is just too long. #9 is close, but stops just short of what we want for users—sharing and discovering the brands themselves, not just the reviews of the brands. And then there was #10. Short, sweet, active, bold, truthful. If we do our job to build a site that attracts like-minded brand loyalists, then they’ll naturally share the best brands with one another. And over time our catalog of brand recommendations will become a playground for discovery.

On a design note, I initially fought myself on #10. Then I realized I was doing it for the wrong reason; I simply liked the typographic lock-up of the lowercase serif “from” in there. I liked how it looked. But this isn’t solely about letters and aesthetics, it has to act as a rudder and identifier. Ultimately, the content has to be more important than the form, even if it hurts.

We want our users to share and discover the best brands, so that’s our working tagline. But is it the best? Are we missing a better opportunity? We’d love your feedback.