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Khoi Vinh Oversees A Rebrand Of Todoist That Makes The Organizational App Even Better

Longtime user Khoi Vinh oversaw the in-house team who revamped the app from the inside out.

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If you’re one of the 5 million people who use the digital productivity tool Todoist, today you’ll notice a few changes to the UI and a slick new logo. The company’s rebranding strives to make the mobile and web apps easier to use on all platforms, more responsive, and more streamlined.

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An early adopter of Todoist, Khoi Vinh has championed the platform for nearly a decade and guided the company’s in-house team—which is composed of five members in five different countries—to tighten the visual design and refine the backend.

“I’ve been using Todoist since it was a pet project that founder Amir Salihefendic ran out of his dorm room at university,” Vinh says. “Part of what makes me so passionate about it is that at its heart it’s still very much the same product now as it was then—still simple, still elegant, still incredibly powerful. But it’s also grown up a lot too; it’s faster, more sophisticated, more capable now than ever before. So that’s what I really wanted to see reflected in the redesign—I wanted the new branding to reflect that Todoist is truly a world-class product, even if its spirit is still as scrappy as it was when it started.”

There’s more space between the rows, users will be able to pick from more colors for their toolbars, and there’s a subtle shift in the brand’s red hue. Moreover, the “Quick Add” feature released earlier this year for iOS and Android apps will now work for web and Mac app users. But the change biggest change is in the logo, which has morphed from an abstract “T” and “D” smashed together to a symbol based on checkmarks—something that represents the company’s mission.

“In a world of apps, the symbol ends ups being the thing users look for on the launch screen, and that helps them quickly start our app, so the symbol, used in our app icons, needs to be quickly distinguished from all the others,” Ana Ferreira, Doist’s head of design, says. “The wordmark is a way to complement it, to teach users the name of our product. Only a couple of brands can live and be recognized with just a symbol.”

The in-house team used Google’s Material Design principles as a framework. “I thought this was such a smart move when they talked to me about it,” Vinh says. “Material Design is more than just a visual toolkit for Android or Google. It’s really a framework for resolving fundamental design problems that occur again and again across tons of different platforms. And that’s really perfect for Todoist because this product is really everywhere you need it to be.”

“Our most explosive growth was after a huge redesign we did a year and a half ago for Todoist Next,” Salihefendic says, noting that he, a computer engineer, cobbled together the first logo using Photoshop. “Design became important and we could see results. A lot of times, you can change things and it makes no difference. The changes you make aren’t for change’s sake, you improve stuff. It’s to make it easier to use, more user friendly, and more aesthetically pleasing. It’s not how it looks, it’s how it works.”

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As it becomes the norm to work on a variety of devices from tablets to desktops to phones, and with a number of different operating systems, further restrained and responsive design became necessary and paves the way for more growth.

About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.

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