A website redesign is a huge milestone for any brand or startup, so, in the spirit of celebration, here is a quick history of Catch&Release and how our brand has evolved into our new look.
In 2004, I was a recent college graduate and had just taken a job as an “Image Researcher” at a post-production agency in San Francisco. The task I was given was to find a very specific image of a quarry — the right angle, lighting, resolution — that would be seamlessly incorporated into an edit that panned out until the quarry was just a speck — a sort of nod to the Eames film Powers of 10. I spent three days scouring Google for hours on end. Finally, I found a shot that fit the brief on a new photo sharing site that was still in beta: Flickr. My director was ecstatic: “This is it! This is the one.” Well done, I thought to myself. I nailed it. But now that the creative was complete, my team had a whole laundry list of questions: “Who shot this? Can we license this for the spot? How much do they want for it? Can we set the price?” “Holy sh*t!” I thought, “I have the opportunity to reverse engineer a marketplace!”
Once the commercial aired, I was hooked. I created a consultancy, Visual Catch, which then grew into a technology startup called Catch&Release, to serve this emerging market with a revolutionary solution — to make the internet licensable.
The term “catch and release” goes back 100+ years and is attributed to European fly fishing. Fly fishing is an elegant sport; one requiring skill, patience, and a hyper-specific knowledge of the ecosystem. Fly fishers are great advocates of sustainable fishing through the practice of “catch and release” — searching for and luring in the best fish, which they then gently release back into their pools. Catch&Release is founded on the same premise: our curators use their creative intellect, patience and a deep understanding of how people use the internet to source the most bespoke, viable video and stills for creative production. Our Clearance and Licensing Platform then “release” that content for commercial use by way of license, and it goes back into the waters of the Catch&Release network for future discoveries.
Our logo, the ampersand, at its roots, means “and.” But when you go deeper, the ampersand represents partnership. Like the ampersand, Catch&Release connects creatives to incredible content, producers to vital information, and business managers to compliant licenses. Content contributors (those from whom we license) also benefit from our transparent and secure process because it enables them to earn money by doing what they already do: capturing their lived moments and sharing them on the internet. The ampersand in Catch&Release represents the critical connection between two worlds that have been siloed for a long time: supporting amazing creative vision, with a deference to legal requirements. In short: Catch&Release allows great creative to be seen by the masses.
The Catch&Release Brand (Re)Design
In late 2018 we underwent a brand redesign to capture the essence — and evolution — of who we are and what we do. All of the design elements touch back to our roots in advertising production, our connection to the craft of fly fishing and the idea of the internet as a growing ocean of content.
The core design elements — curved lines, rounded edges and wave shapes — are evocative of the movement of water. These shapes also serve as a metaphor for the ever-changing, ever-expanding pool of content that lives on the internet — it never stays still. Our primary brand color is a deep emerald green, complemented by a bright sea-foam green, emulating metaphorical depths of the internet and the foam that sits on top of its waves; great content can be found everywhere in between.
We believe curation is an art-form, which is why we’ve chosen to leverage a classic white border on every page of our site. This elegant and thoughtful “gallery” treatment pays homage to the meticulous attention to detail that goes into curating any art exhibition or Instagram feed, or brand identity. It also conveys the endless creative possibilities that exist when a brand or agency curates their own content library, which grows ,changes and evolves over time, like their taste does; like the internet does.
The boldest element of our new site is the use of a hero image composed of two shots, with our Catch&Release logo in the middle. This precise joining of two different yet complimenting images along the lines of the ampersand is synonymous with both sides of our business: we connect creative (catch) to clearance (release). And we live by our own rules: every image or video you see on the site was curated by our team, and cleared and licensed by our platform.
The Catch&Release Mission
“Catch&Release” represents agility and accuracy. Instead of building a library that can go stale, our mission is to deliver content and rights on-demand, to make any creative vision a reality. We are building software to facilitate this complex process through simple, intuitive tools that alleviate bottlenecks and enable creatives to create more, producers to work smarter, and give business affairs and legal peace of mind they deserve. We are turning the internet into a powerful curation and licensing engine.
What is a very simple need — find any great piece of content and use it in your advertising or marketing — is incredibly complex beneath the surface. The right shot has to be found from millions, sometimes billions, of options, and once chosen, must be properly cleared. All rights must be acquired; consent from the copyright owner(s), talent and other layers of intellectual property — while not creative consideration — can be major blockers to creative execution if not handled properly.
To be successful in this mission, we know we need to help two distinct groups of people be successful: creative and legal. The interdependence between these groups has always existed, but with Catch&Release, this connection is celebrated and empowered.
PS: Curious where that image of a quarry ended up? You can see it here (at 0:18), when the camera is panning way from the rock climbers. The editing is so seamless it’s hard to tell where the original production ends and the “sourced” content begins.