Contributed by Josie Price of London-based ico design.

ubyu sourcebook

ico has created the brand identity and led the development of the online presence for ubyu, a venture into the expanding market of self-publishing.

Recently, the world has become excited about the potential of self-publishing. ubyu is the latest web-based facility for anyone wishing to create their own high quality bespoke books. The key points of difference offered by this new proposition are a distinct enhancement in print and production quality, and a greater variety of design and finishing options.

ubyu logo

Primarily aimed at image makers and creatives, the ubyu brand strategy focuses around this all-important elevation in quality. The simple name and identity, along with the tone-of-voice, presents a refined and professional brand.

Why ubyu? The name derives from the idea “books designed by you, for you.”

Other names that were considered: indelible, selfex (a play on ‘self-expression’), inkalink, inpictu (in situ — picture), buy the book, bookish, byyou.

ubyu ribbon

Visually we find a calmness that suggests sophistication and promotes confidence in the service. The brand imagery has been supplied by John Ross. His inspiring abstract photography of beautifully-bound books highlights the traditional production features that include coloured headbands, silk marker ribbons, foiling and debossing.

ubyu book

ubyu website

The website is the work of a collaboration between the designers and programmers at ico and the back-end developers at on-IDLE. The goal was to reflect the brand’s values by creating a site that belies its comprehensive functionality and complex e-commerce aspects. Carefully considered architecture and an instinctively intelligible interface make for a professional and seamless user experience.

ubyu website

View more work on the ico design website. Follow ico on Twitter.

9 responses

  1. Really simple but neat piece of design work, the website has a very clear and design lead sensibility and something that would draw future consideration as a way of creating leave behind books and portfolio of work.

  2. Hmmm, it’s leaving me cold. It’s nice enough, but doesn’t inspire me or excite me in any way.

    And the blunt cut off of the Y compared to the other letters in the name is quite irksome. The more I look, the more it screams out at me.

  3. ‘inpictu’ seems a better name than ‘ubyu’, which leaves doubt as to pronunciation.

    The site is simple, solid. A bit samey, but functional in a good way.

  4. I agree with you @Amanda, it does seem a little cold, and the ‘y’ glyph is pretty annoying being half-finished-cut-off, and it’s definitely not the most exciting design. I guess though its the content and images within the design that’re supposed to make it special.

  5. I just visited the FB page for UbyU and the comments by customers aren’t very good. Seems like they have poor customer service (at least for the people posting), and quite a few angry customers posting about not getting their books, and not getting e-mail responses.

    The images look great, but this could be a good example of great design not making a great company.

  6. Well, great design does not create a great brand or even influence brand behavior.

    The design is merely the image that customers use to attach to their experiences with the company, and it is up to the company to ensure those experiences are consistent (ie reliable brand behavior to be expected from said brand) and ‘good’.

    In their case if they continue like this this mark will simply be associated with poor customer service.

  7. Not so happy with how the company runs its website. Why not offer a contact number?

    I can’t seem to create an account on as they have some encoding problems, so when I fill in the form I am required to enter the characters on the image, but I can’t do so as the image does not appear. Even contacting them is impossible as it also requires me to enter characters from an image.

    Very frustrating as I used their template for making a book with all the settings and colour-ways. Now I have to find another company and re-adjust to their settings.

    Does anyone know any other companies I could go for?

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