Building a new brand identity for the security pioneer
For the last 15 years Palo Alto Networks has confronted one of the world’s most pressing issues: cybersecurity. As our digital way of life has grown to encompass work, home, and everywhere in between, the company has risen to address the world’s greatest security challenges with the latest breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, analytics, automation, and orchestration. In 2019, with the release of a set of category re-defining products right around the corner, the company’s leaders saw an opportunity to reshape and strengthen the brand’s identity. Together, we set out to reimagine the way Palo Alto Networks uses visual language to tell its story.
PANW’s leaders wanted to explore everything from brand marks and illustration to motion graphics and strategy. They also asked us to name the product families we’d be bringing to life. Our goal was to reflect their market expertise by creating a cohesive look that evokes the strength and flexibility of the company’s products.
We started by researching Palo Alto Networks’ colorful legacy. Within the brand’s story, capabilities, and characteristics, we were able to identify and develop a common geometry. The company’s mission has always been ensuring cybersecurity for everyone; any new logo and design system we created had to elevate that cause.
The peelable element of the company brandmark was built within a 7x7 grid. Its three converging shapes represent the integration of the company’s three product families—Strata, Prisma, Cortex—into a cohesive whole.
For the main motif we developed a series of interconnecting paths to symbolize bringing together all the different aspects of modern security, from cloud to firewalls. The parent brand mark evolved from its original boxed-in waveform to a harmonious triad of intersecting elements united by implied overlaps of complementary negative space.
We set to designing a cohesive system of marks for PANW's three main product lines. Explorations of the three sub-brand product families led us to Strata, Cortex, and Prisma, with each name highlighting a unique capability.
We created glyphs and color schemes for the company and each product. Strata Yellow is a rich primary color. Prisma Blue emodies blue-sky opportunity. Cortex Green combines Strata and Prisma’s colors, signifying integration.
For the Strata product family, we created a hexagonal mark that doubles as an abstracted cube, emphasizing the protective capabilities of the Palo Alto Networks’ most recognized firewall products. For Cortex, we focused on continuous circularity to evoke 360-degree visibility and automated intelligence of its AI and data lake platform. And finally, for Prisma we drew from triangular shapes to embody precision and completeness of vision representing the comprehensive system for cloud security.
We also developed a new approach to typography, searching specifically for sans-serifs that work well in information-dense environments. We ultimately selected Hoefler and Co.’s newly-launched Decimal typeface. It was inspired by watch dials, which emphasize maximum readability even at small scales and translated well to digital formats where the Palo Alto Networks brand would appear most often. We built a typographic system around Decimal that provides global language support.
We assigned specific colors to the parent brand and its three product pillars to add clarity and focus. Each was carefully chosen through extensive color testing across screens and designed in concert with a new tint system. Refining these elements of the brand color palette empowered Palo Alto Networks to introduce new color variations for both functional and tertiary applications.
To tie all the elements together, we created a suite of custom graphics. Since Palo Alto Networks specializes in securing and handling all sorts of data, we used capsules to illustrate the abstraction of data and data clusters. Each data point is visualized as traveling along a secure pathway—which is exactly Palo Alto Networks’ core mission.
Palo Alto Networks’ full refresh was finally unveiled last spring in San Francisco. The new identity continues to roll out across the company site, its branded materials, and its 58 campuses around the world.