The Guild - Rebranding in open source

Uri Goldshtein


  • The Guild never had a marketing, design or branding function
  • As we see our tools as best of breed in any category we work in, we want to get more exposure to it on our ecosystem
  • We’ve also want more open source developers to know you can create open source businesses in a sustainable way, like we have successfully managed to do
  • We’ve decided its time for The Guild to go through a professional process of branding and marketing
  • We’ve hired experts to help us in that process - North Star
  • Like everything we do at The Guild - we’ve decided to take the whole process open source and share with our community everything in the process, including our wins and painful points

The Guild Today

We are a group of developers, creating open source, developer experience and infrastructure tools for managing data and APIs.

We’ve managed to create industry leading tools, that are fully open source, while still being very profitable with solid financials that makes us resilient for the future.

The whole structure of the group was to make sure we can create tools everyone can rely on for the very long term.

We’ve also managed to become a really interesting place for ambitious developers to work in - all of our libraries are under developer’s names and not under The Guild’s org, in order to give the developers the fully power and credit they deserve.

Building on all of these foundations together, we believe we’ve managed to create a strong ground for building quality software and we want to inspire others to create long term, quality software instead of short term, trend and marketing based software foundations.

We’ve had a unique vision and a way to achieve it and we’ve managed to be successful at it.

At this stage, we feel that more people should be aware of what we do.

Some as users of our tools and some as other open source developers and solution providers, to share our tools and learnings with the wider community.

We have never done any marketing and we think this is a good time to start - At this stage, marketing to us is a force for bringing awareness to ideas we believe in

Where We Want to Be, Our Goals from the Process

As we go through the process, we have to ask ourselves what do we actually want to get.

Our current goals as we see them today:

  • Clear offering: We offer many products, spread across many places across the stack. It is currently very hard for someone new to The Guild’s ecosystem to understand what each tool does and how it could benefit them

Our products

This might seem slightly confusing…
  • Philosophy of development: We’ve managed to create a philosophy around how we work, in order to create sustainable, reliable, quality open source infrastructure. We want to share these ideas with our users and other open source developers
  • Hiring: We want to give ambitious open source developers a career path that they are not currently getting in other companies. Maximizing their individual potential is the core reason of why we’ve created The Guild in the first place. We want to let developers know that The Guild is more than a GraphQL provider and it’s also more than an API provider — it’s the open source company, structured around the most solid solutions in open source that could be relied upon by users and tool builders - More exposure: More developers to be aware of the available products we offer and why they are the best in the industry (if they are not, we want to understand why as part of that process, we want to share that as well in public). That includes the GraphQL ecosystem but also the wider API ecosystem

The Process

Here is the process we’ll go through, led by North Star (they’ve also wrote about the process here): process

First Phase — Brand Audit

During that process, North Star will analyse the current state of The Guild

They will learn about:

  • How we communicate
  • Our current brand and identity
  • Our value propositions
  • The overall ecosystem

We will share the full analysis results with the community.

We believe this would be helpful as we could get feedback from all of you about the results and if we got it right.

Also, the fact that the evaluation of the ecosystem would be open source, could help other vendors, including direct competitors of ours, to get a clear picture of the current landscape, what is strong and what is missing. Also, If we get something wrong about them, they could contribute to the report!

That same analysis could help solution providers and architects at companies to take more informed decisions on which tools to choose for the future of their companies.

We can do it because we have the freedom to choose to use our competition when they are better. We can stop developing something and contribute to another existing solution if we don’t see the benefit in our solution, thanks to our unique structure.

In the world of open source, we believe that ‘competition’ is not a harsh business reality. Rather than that, it is the collective effort towards building the best solutions that push the whole industry forward. And, of course, a personal motivation for growth!

Second Phase — Diagnostics

During this phase, we’ll diagnose our current brand identity. While all of us at The Guild have their own beliefs about the company, it’s very important to us to see how you perceive us, so that we get as much user perspective as we can!

We’ll also take a look at other great companies in this space, to find inspiration and best practices.

The diagnostics phase will aim to be as collaborative with the community as possible, as we want to challenge our own assumptions and find the most quality feedback!

Third Phase — Strategy

Once we have a complete and data-driven understanding of the current state of The Guild, both from our internal perspective and external, with the help of our community, we’ll be able to move towards building a set of strategic foundations.

We will be hosting a workshop with North Star, during which we’ll work together and decide how we want to tackle our goals and what are the best tactics to accomplish those.

We are still thinking about the best ways to make that process also open source and collaborative with the community.

Fourth Phase — Creative Execution

Once we decide on the full strategy, we’re going to execute on it — also here in an open source manner.

All of our websites are already open source, so each change we’ll make there would be as well.

But we also want to open source our brand assets, design system in Figma and frontend components, communication strategy and guidelines and any other product or marketing related work we’ll execute on.

Usually these processes are not being done in the open, even at open source companies.

We’ll need to use or create tools and ways that help us collaborate on the process in that unique way. We hope others could benefit from that as well and maybe make it easier for companies to go through these types of processes in the open.

Why Are We Sharing All of It in the Open?

The Guild was created to be a place where solutions that are sustainable and for the long term are being built.

One of the best ways to accomplish that is to be fully open source. It means that no matter what happens, including anything with the company itself — the solutions and the code are still available, out there and anyone could use and build upon them.

As we’ve successfully managed to create that environment, it also came with a great deal of freedom.

For example, we could have our most successful product - GraphQL Hive - to be fully open source! While still being extremely successful SaaS business.

That freedom drives us to work on things in the best way possible and we believe that sharing the marketing and branding process with all of you, will help us achieve the best results.

It would help others who want to go through similar process, it will give access to our community to influence and take part in this important process and it would help other GraphQL vendors and push the whole ecosystem forward!

A Call for All of You

Like open source tools - the most all of you will get involved, share your opinion and maybe even contribute - The Guild will become a better place and a powerful community for your needs.

We will be sharing every step of the way here, on our blog. During the journey, we’ll also be asking you to bring your thoughts and ideas in. They’re most welcome!

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