About Me

  • Adam Behringer

    Seattle, Washington USA

    Adam is the founder of BEEDOCS, an artisan software company that makes great timeline software for Mac OS X.

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The Bee Docs' Brand

Friday, July 25, 2008

As I have mentioned before, I have been working with graphic designers on an update of our logo, website, and marketing materials. As part of this effort, I have been working on defining and clarifying the Bee Documents brand.

By "brand" I mean the characteristics that make Bee Documents unique. What makes us different than Microsoft, Apple, OmniGroup, Delicious Monster, Panic, or anyone else? This is a marketing question because the marketing should communicate and reinforce the brand to customers who are learning about Bee Documents.

However besides marketing, the "brand" question is also important, even more important, for other reasons. It can serve as a guide for choosing new products to develop, employees to hire, features to prioritize, and more. A strong brand is not just about perception, but also about reality. For me, the "brand" serves as a goal and guide, a representation of the way I want to do business as well as the way I want others to think of the company.

With that said, here are four pillars of the Bee Docs brand to which I gave a lot of thought and presented to the design team working on the new logo:


First and foremost, I want Bee Documents to be about people. The people who use the products, the people that make the products, students, teachers, artists, film makers, professionals, parents, writers... The list goes on and on.

Sending out hand written thank you notes is an example of an effort to make a human connection to customers. The new website will feature customers and their work as much as our product. We'll continue to seek out ways of bringing humanity, human relationships, and human contact to the center of our brand.

Not enough software companies focus on people (I include my own in this criticism). I do have to give a shout out to Plasq though who gets this more than anyone else I've seen. Their customers are featured all over their website. Their team has also been very thoughtful and encouraging in communicating with me personally, even before I won any awards etc... Props to Plasq. Patagonia and U2 have also been inspirational for me in this regard.


I believe nature contains the very best examples of design both in form and function. So many tech companies look to other tech companies for inspiration and it shows in their products and marketing. I hope to look to nature for inspiration and I want people to feel that connection when they use our products or encounter our marketing.


What I mean by "artisan" is products that reflect the designers point of view, a distinct character, and a connection to a specific culture. In other words, the opposite of generic or anonymous. Artisan products don't seek to please everyone but they are made and consumed with passion. To me artisan also implies a relationship between producer and consumer (see Human Touch).


Apple has been encouraging developers to be "Cinematic." This is a challenge that I embrace. Not only do I want our marketing and products to be cinematic, I also want to enable our customers to be cinematic using our products. To me, cinematic means excitement, motion, sound, storytelling, and expression in a highly visual medium.

So those are big goals! I believe our work so far has reflected these characteristics but that it will be a continuous journey to reflect them even stronger. Some of these characteristics have been part of my brand thinking since the beginning in 2002 ("Nature Inspired"), some are newer ("Cinematic"). I'm sure the brand will continue to evolve as we learn and as we grow.

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Anonymous AnonymousJuly 29, 2008 3:47 AM

Hi Adam
Hi from London. Just bought Timeline3D yesterday - and it is fantastic. Great job. Thanks so much. It seems we have lots of similar interests (eg music esp U2, and all things Mac).

A few quick thoughts if you don't mind on how you could develop things. Feel free to ignore...
- it would be great if one could have different timelines running in parallel (perhaps the simplest way is to have the ability to customise the colour scheme for individual events?)
- this may be unnecessary, but how about the ability to customise the background by adding images and other text without them being animated events.

Anyway - enough blather. keep up the good work

Blogger Adam BehringerJuly 29, 2008 2:33 PM


Thanks for your comment. To run different timelines in parallel, please take a look at the "Event Row" feature which does exactly that (see the Help documentation for more info).


Anonymous AnonymousJuly 30, 2008 3:53 AM

Hey Adam,

We're loving Timeline and, more importantly so are our clients.

We tried (sad creatures that we are)and failed to make gant charts sexy, and we were getting a little bit bored with hand-drawn roadmaps.

Timeline has allowed us to cost-effectively create planning presentations that inform and entertain.

We were interested to read your thoughts on branding. 'Inspired by nature' struck a chord with us. We chose our name 'Fresh Voice' for precisely that reason. We only launched in June and reckon we have a long way to go to get our message right.

.... and, your thank you cards are a nice touch - the one you sent us is on the wall. But man, that's a lot of Gocco printing!

All best wishes

Fresh Voice

Anonymous AnonymousAugust 01, 2008 10:48 AM

Fantastic - thanks for pointing me to the HELP documentation (doh!)

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