Feb 16, 2024

Chris Waraksa

The Guild in the Wind of Change — Open Source Rebranding in Public

North Star is excited to share insights into a pioneering journey we're facilitating for The Guild, a beacon in the open-source and software development community.

"Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those who you are capable of improving." — Seneca.

Embracing Building in Public

The concept of "Building in Public" has seen its popularity surge among tech communities, yet it remains a novel approach in broader business contexts. Originating from the democratization of technology (highlighted by the rise of low-code platforms and the journeys of solo founders), alongside the evolution of social media (transforming personal networks into expansive communities), this philosophy leverages the foundational role of "community" in product and solution development. While pinpointing its inception is challenging, the mid-2010s witnessed pioneers like Pieter Levels and companies such as Buffer and Gumroad embracing this ethos, rooted in principles as old as the internet itself.

Open Source as the Blueprint

Drawing inspiration from open-source collaboration, "building in public" transcends industry boundaries. In the tech sphere, open source is lauded for uniting developers in the creation and refinement of freely accessible software, fostering a culture of open improvement and collective achievement. This spirit of collaboration has extended beyond technology, influencing sectors like public policy with initiatives such as "Participate Melbourne", which involves citizens in governance.

Synergizing Open Source and Public Building

Open source and "building in public" are united by their commitment to collaborative creation and the pursuit of common benefits. This focus on transparency and collective input tends to yield solutions of superior quality and wider applicability, validating the power of collective wisdom over solitary expertise. That's what The Guild and North Star firmly believe.

Partners in Crime

At North Star, we work with tech companies on a daily basis, exploring innovative approaches to branding and community engagement. When we first started talks with The Guild about their rebranding process, Uri Goldshtein proposed taking this whole thing open source. What seemed scary at first, due to the conventional state of things, we quickly saw this as an opportunity to do it differently. ‘Rebranding in public’ represents an exploration into how transparency and collaborative processes can enhance the rebranding journey, reflecting our commitment to innovation and the power of community insights. And we couldn’t have been more excited.

The Guild's Rebranding Journey Begins

The Guild, with its foundational commitment to open source, is now embarking on a rebranding journey reflective of these principles. As a beacon in the software development community and a staunch advocate for GraphQL and open source, our rebranding initiative is an opportunity to embody the "building in public" philosophy. This approach, while innovative, challenges conventional branding practices. 

Exploring Beyond Tradition

Traditionally, branding processes have been conducted behind closed doors, often to protect proprietary strategies and innovations. Despite a few brands like Mozilla attempting to demystify their processes, the norm remains internal deliberations culminating in a grand reveal. However, in the spirit of exploration and in recognition of the digital age’s value on transparency, we see a unique opportunity to open up these processes.

We approach this not as a critique of traditional methods but out of curiosity and a belief in the potential for a more inclusive process. It's about augmenting, not diminishing, the creativity and expertise that professional agencies and consultants bring to the table.

In an age where community engagement and transparency are paramount, concealing branding endeavors is a missed opportunity for deeper connection and collaboration.

An Invitation to Collaborate

This rebranding journey for The Guild, facilitated by North Star, is an open invitation to The Guild's community and the wider public. We believe that by embracing a collaborative approach, we can craft a brand identity that resonates more deeply with everyone involved. Your insights, feedback, and participation are invaluable to this process.

Looking Ahead

Our forthcoming post will outline the rebranding roadmap, detailing the phases we will navigate and the milestones we anticipate. Expect insights into our creative process, the hurdles we face, and the triumphs we celebrate. This journey is not just about redefining a brand but also about reimagining the process of branding itself.

Join us as we embark on this exciting exploration, leveraging the collective wisdom of The Guild's community. Together, we will not only reimagine The Guild's identity but also play our part in contributing to openness in business.

Chris Waraksa


Chris Waraksa