Branding Nortel Networks Preside

For Nortel Networks, a company built on R+D and the sale of hardware, Preside represented a bold move in the direction of software marketing. The design task of 'branding' Preside was inseperable from the elements of change that were driving the Preside initiative. Branding is bracketed here, because Nortel's corporate standards prohibited the use of signature imagery or illustrations. Theses became two of the primary creative challenges.

The first step in the branding process was research. A study of the product's history, its competitors, it's current 'state of the art', and Nortel's reasons for making these changes at this time formed the basis for developing a design brief.

system of imagery that provides more than the visual communication of product capabilities and benefits. This imagery system’s flexibility, scalability and method of application are designed to mesh with the product’s key marketing features establishing a look-and-feel that is capable of adapting and evolving across applications and over time. Providing a dynamic extension to the design system, the imagery system consists of a palette of consistently styled imagery(right) from which designs for marketing and promotion material are created.

In the late nineties, increased demand for network connectivity over the internet and it’s integration with traditional carrier networks created radical changes in the capabilities of network hardware and put new emphasis on the potential capabilities of software. Nortel Networks' reputation was built on R+D, and their revenue dependent on the sale of hardware(Bell Northern Research). The company was poised to enter the agile and highly cometitive market of software development. The strategy behind Preside was to reposition and unify a collection of network management products with the utilitarian name of Integrated Network Management(INM). INM consisted of many competing product lines, a look and feel that reflected an engineers perspective(right), and a not-so-integrated marketing strategy.

Before Preside was introduced at Nortel Networks in November, 1999, all product names, ‘branding’ imagery and design efforts were driven from the shop floor. Engineers at Nortel developed product. They gave them descriptive names, like Integrated Network Management (INM). And each product line developed it’s own set of images and graphics to fulfill it’s production and marketing requirements. Many of the visuals were the eqivelent of instructions attempting to explain product configurations to network managers and technicians(right).

The visual marketing resources were often poorly managed and became inconsistent, even within a product line. With dozens of product lines all doing their own thing the overall marketing focus became introspective and narrow. This position was reinforced by the fact that Nortel’s major sources of revenue came from hardware sales, not software products. There had, until this point, never been a need to market the software independently of the hardware.

Market developmentsin the late nineties changed all this. The increased demand for network connectivity over the internet and it’s integration with traditional carrier networks has created radical changes in the capabilities of network hardware and put new emphasis on the potential capabilities of the software. This potential lies not only in more reliable network management, but, more significantly, in the ability to deliver a wide range of services that will ensure future growth and revenue for both Nortel and it’s customers.
Preside was created to meet this new challenge and to fill this emerging need. It has been dubbed, serviceware. Preside brings all the core network software products under one umbrella, one that consolidates the software marketing and branding efforts and unified it’s presence in a highly competitive marketplace.

The focus for the Preside branding effort has been firmly positioned at the customer end. The customer sees one product with a unique and unified look and feel.



The old look of INM
top; 'service',
above; optical management.

preside comp
A comp for the proposed Preside look and feel. A design approach based on the abstract paintings of Kandinsky, Miro and Klee.

The work of these artists deals with change, with the creation of new forms and new relationships between space and form. Their aim of redefining these fundamental visual elements into something new and non-static, with the potential to be both more universal and open to personal interpretation, is one that is shared by Preside as it attempts to redefine the form and functionality of serviceware,

case header  
nrc cover

National Research Council
2001 Annual Report, an 84 page, billingual publication.

For this science-focussed client, I chose a design with symmetry that challenges the standard page layout. The design is oriented on the centre of the page, rather than the top. Sections start with a lead right-hand page, and sub-sections start either at the top or at the middle of the page. Section identifiers, the position of photos, and page numbers mark the half-page.

Above: Cover
Below: sample spreads
spread 1  
spread 2
poster 1   poster 2  
Produced for the same client that use the same design semantic. The Federal Identification Program(FIP) required the use of the header and footer graphical identifier. Working with it was part of the design challenge.
2002 cover   2002 annual report.
Here was an opportunity to further development the design principals established in the 2001 report.
2002 spread 1  
2002 spread 2