I was lucky enogugh to be appointed as the brand guardian of the Cardano project family. The guys were already in the middle of a general refurbishing program when I joined. Their aim was to create a recognizable overall look and feel for all the online platforms Cardano have. I was asked to create a brand for each main and sub project in a way that they share the same characteristics but have their own identity, as it was called ‘being the same but different’.
The first steps for me was finding out the style direction and creating those core visual elements that can be shared amongst the pages and serving as a backbone of the further design efforts. I started with choosing iconography and compiling a base color theme that could be used to compare different arrangement and pick from the potential style directions (eg. flat/minimal/futuristic…).
For each potential direction a test design was created using that base theme in different manner (variations in icon style, typography, spacing, color swatches and gradient options…). The test versions were shared with the colleagues to gather feedback and to be able to pick those elements that can be taken further. After several review rounds and internal discussions the 4th test design eventually bacame an agreed starting point of building up the new design system.
To establish the brand personality I created a flexible style guide prototype where all the newly born sub-brand could be added without losing the coherence between the brand elements.
APPLYING BRAND STRATEGY
In case of every project landed on my desk, I started the building by laying down the same basic skin using the style guide in order to maintain recognisability. On the top of that I added a completely custom visual spice for each project creating their own individual language.
BUILDING PATTERN LIBRARY
To ensure the easy expansion of the brand I've started to build a library from the commonly used page and interface elements. To optimize the layout of the online assets and provide an easily scannable/readable content arrangement I started the work with the navigation, the content hierarchy and highlighting options.