A few months ago, Stephen Martin (MC mobile developer/designer) and I started the slow process of rethinking the MailChimp mobile app icons. During our initial exploration Louie Mantia gave a talk at the Renaissance Conference about icon families. This talk helped define our goal: keep the individual brand personality of each app while unifying the visual language.
I was already confident going into this design problem after working on the profile icon system for our many twitter accounts. However, unlike the MailChimp twitter accounts, our app icons all had individual branding systems.These branding systems would prove to be the hardest to navigate during the redesign process. Ultimately, understanding the relationship of each app to the primary MailChimp app helped solve the problem. What we started to realize (with help from Ben Chestnut) is most of these secondary apps were in some ways utilities to the main MailChimp app. The idea presented itself. Our secondary apps would be styled the same and act as an utility belt to the primary MailChimp app brand. Easy, now all we had to do to is to apply the idea to the design process.