System Initiative.
Radically rethinking today’s approach to DevOps.

Building a beacon brand for a paradigm-changing technology company emerging from stealth.

Services Provided
– Strategy
– Visual Identity
– Naming
– Positioning
– Corporate Narrative
– Copywriting
– Brand Activation Planning
– Brand Guidelines

The original vision of DevOps was supposed to be about a better way: More collaboration. Faster deployment. Exponential innovation. But as tools struggled to keep up with modern application environments, the vision was never fulfilled—despite DevOps practitioners’ ingenuity. 

System Initiative was founded to fully achieve the original promise of DevOps. And they created an entirely new open-source model to get there. To build the model and lead the way, System Initiative needed a stand-out brand to attract other innovators eager to help reimagine infrastructure automation.

What We Learned Along the Way

Roll up your sleeves. Together.

Working with a start-up coming out of stealth is an intimate affair. Decision-making teams are typically small. The ‘big idea’ creator is at the table. We sat side-by-side with System Initiative’s founders, pushing each other in all the right ways—challenging assumptions, offering honest feedback, and building mutual trust. Together, we built a brand from the ground up that made everyone proud.

Know your audience.

Position a paradigm-changing technology for a relatively small population of self-starter systems administrators with rarified knowledge of infrastructure automation? No problem…said no one ever. We had to understand the core needs, challenges, aspirations, and enthusiasms of System Initiative’s highly technical audience in order to build a brand that would move people. 

Create a movement.

Bringing an entirely new DevOps model to the marketplace—open-source, multiplayer, visual, and real-time—requires building a community of practitioners excited to collaborate and make it happen. For System Initiative to thrive, we knew the brand had to declare a new future and call people to action.

“Emotive went deep with us on who our audience was, and applied every ounce of their creative passion to build a verbal and visual identity that has the chance to be legendary.”

Adam Jacob, CEO / Chairman / Co-Founder, System Initiative

Remodeling Destiny
In System Initiative’s visual identity, ‘System’ is represented by flat, two-dimensional grid space—the baseline framework to build from. ‘Initiative’ is represented by multi-dimensional line-work symbols—the perspective shift required to alter thinking and inspire creativity. Together, these identity elements telegraph a new way forward.

Architects & Builders
The second wave of DevOps, characterized by a gritty, do-it-yourself ethos, is animated by the use of texture throughout the visual identity system. A rich variety of textures helps represent the rough-n-ready spirit of the DevOps community.

Stand Up to Mediocrity
The System Initiative brand expresses precision through clean geometric, grid-inspired graphics that cut through all compositions.

More Making, 
Less Breaking
The DevOps community is brought to life with photography—both curated and contributed by its members. Documentary-style imagery captures authentic, candid moments that amplify practitioners’ core passions.

Experience that Works

Provoke curiosity.

System Initiative has a vision for DevOps that’s radically different from anything that’s come before. Engaging practitioners and provoking curiosity required positing  ‘what can be’ in contrast to ‘what is.’ We developed a succinct handle to accomplish this: “Welcome to the Second Wave of DevOps. Are you in?”

Put humans first.

Business success ultimately depends on building a community of DevOps practitioners ready to contribute to System Initiative’s open-source model. We developed an approach to photography that invites users to add imagery from their own lives—allowing the brand to become a mirror for the people who matter most.

Speak their language.

System Initiative is creating solutions that help DevOps practitioners do what they love most: innovating. We activated this emotional driver through language that gets to the heart of everyday experience: “Less solo time spent fixing bugs means more time for collaborating and innovating (your specialty).”

A new dimension.

System Initiative’s new DevOps model is visual—transforming what was once defined by lines of code into an easy-to-see, easy-to-use graphical interface. To help tell the brand story, we communicated this shift—literally and metaphorically—by pulling signs and symbols into dimensional space.