Where Fire Meets the Mountains
The Backstory on Our Branding
“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”
― David McCullough Jr.
When we sat down to develop our brand, we settled on Illumyne for our name. Partially because so many of the names we wanted were taken (true story), but mostly because it told the story we were hoping it would tell.
Illumine means “to illuminate.” It was fitting, as that is exactly what our product is supposed to do for our clients’ brands, and what we want their purpose to do for them. The Y was an added touch to make sure that the purpose - the why - is always front and center.
Given that first step, we had some colleagues say, “Use a light bulb!”
I knew in my gut that it was the wrong approach. Light bulbs immediately connote ideas, and they’re manufactured. Man-made. Electronic. We wanted something human. So, we settled on fire.
Fire is symbolic of the spirit and of life itself.
In its most base form, fire is represented by the upright triangle, which we see physically in structures like the pyramids. Across many cultures, flame is associated with the divine - and with our best nature.
Most importantly for us, the nature of fire lies in its constant movement. It doesn’t stop until it runs out of fuel.
We placed our flame over top of the Y in our logo to make it clear that it’s your why - your purpose - that keeps the fire going.
More literally, fire also provides light, which tied directly into our name and highlighted purpose’s ability to illuminate the way forward.
Additionally, the mastery of fire was one of the things that set us apart as human. We believe that it is critical for us to discover, embrace and use purpose to stay that way.
While the flame is critical to our brand, we also used another image: mountains.
Mountains have held our imagination since ancient times and know no cultural bounds. Every country has its holy mountain, and so many myths and legends are associated with them.
What’s more, fire and mountains are linked together, the ascending shape of the mountain drawing parallels between it and the nature of fire.
This essentialism, this root in all humanity, was important: purpose is part of being human, and humanity is global.
We also wanted to look higher, literally and figuratively. Among other things, mountains are symbolic of transcendence and are a physical manifestation of our desire to elevate our body, mind and spirit - and to pursue something bigger than ourselves. We know that having a purpose provides that same opportunity and hopefully brings out the best we can be as human beings.
We see the mountain summit as the pinnacle of purpose. From it, you can see everything more clearly, and with greater perspective. Purpose is not based on short term rewards, the latest trends, or instant gratification. Purpose is a long game, much like climbing up a mountainside, but that only means the triumph is that much greater.
It is no surprise then that mountains also appear to transcend the passage of time, retaining their identity as landmarks for thousands of years in spite of the many changes going on around them. Organizations using purpose to light their way forward will keep their momentum regardless of the blips on the radar screen because they are focused on the climb.
To make work meaningful in order to bring out the best we can be as human beings, now and in the future.
That’s our purpose. That’s why we’re here.
As such, we use a double-exposure technique to show mountains emblazoned with our fire colors as an inherent part of humans working. We’ve chosen images of a diverse set of people, and did our best to show them as intent on their action.
We also kept the interface of our application minimal and clean so that our presence doesn’t overwhelm the brand and the purpose that lives there.
We are intentionally reaching out to smaller organizations so that they can embed purpose into everything they do now so they can then move up the mountain more easily as they grow.
We envision a world where purpose drives all of our work. We will make decisions from a place of intentionality, knowing that what we're doing on all fronts connects specifically to the greater whole.
We will adjust our thinking to analyze problems and product in a way that favors meaning and long term, global sustainability over immediate financial return.
Simply put, we look forward to a future where people love what they do. They will be excited to pursue it, to advance it, and to innovate it. Not because it's easy or done at their leisure, but because it provides fulfillment and joy, and because it matters.
We will all find our mountain and work together to scale it. As said by John Muir, “You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you.”
Thank you for joining us on this adventure.
by Katie Burkhart
Katie is analytical cross-connector and purpose-driven strategist simplifying big ideas into actions. She is also the Founder and CEO of Illumyne.