I was lucky enough to be appointed as the design lead for the brand refurbishment and expansion of the Cardano project. The 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 core and subsidiary brand in a way that they share the same characteristics, but have their own identity, as it was requested ‘being the same but different’. Read article→
The first steps for me was finding out the style direction and creating those core visual elements that can be shared amongst the brands 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 combinations 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.
During the following 1.5 years the number of products (and product versions) has significantly increased and the visual framework needed to be expanded accordingly. I had to find a way to extend the framework both horizontally and vertically without losing the coherence between the brands and subsidiaries.
The finalized design direction was first prototyped, and applied to a couple of social assets and soon-to-be launched site to be able to gather feedback on the recognisablility and the notion of the brand personality.
APPLYING BRAND STRATEGY
In case of every project I started the work by laying down the structure and adding the core elements of the visual prototype in order to maintain the recognisability. And only after that I added a completely custom solution (be it a new divider or a complete page layout) for each project creating their own individual language.
The new design direction was very well received by the community on the social channels the company has used for the announcements.
STYLE GUIDE AND PATTERN LIBRARY
After the visual direction was finalized and reinforced by the community I've started to unify the measurements and lay the foundation of the official guideline and the pattern library. Started with defining the spacing and proximity, then describing the color system, asset usage and theming options. A final library is publicly available in InVision's design system module.