Two sister brands, one major spinal adjustment
by Florian Fangohr, comments by Matt McDonald
The team (formerly known as Bolder, later Cred, then Legit) in San Francisco contacted us because they were ready for their next adventure. Good match… because, so were we. We being a design–technology studio in Brooklyn called—deep voice, creepy german accent—Fangohr. Our goal was to build a platform that measures trust online, called Cred. Later this read more epically:
“We are building the credit system of the 21st century economy, an economy based on trust & sharing.”
We were tasked with the design of the brand identity and the front-end development of the early release site.
CRED: Design Review One
Initial sketches for the C(red):
Flags, then only so serious: X-Ray, + Anchor
Let’s get real:
The Seal of Authenticity®
Get Cred, Gain Trust. / Give Cred, Get Cred. / Cred: The currency of Trust.
[Matt: The Cred team was pretty excited about this iteration early on. Cred as a currency felt real. The concept of giving & getting Cred felt like it played well into fueling more sharing of resources via the internet.]
Cred: Keeping the internet© honest since 2011.
CRED: Design Review Two
- Toss out more
- Refine / Simplify
- Iterate concepts
The Genuine Article
(Aka: the real thing, not a substitute or imitation, also a Wu-Tang Reference.)
Cred: Face Value Online
[Matt: This design review was a particularly hard one for the Cred team. We were in Brooklyn meeting Florian and team for the first time. As we sat in Studiomates (thanks Tina!) talking through the “final” branding, it became clear we wanted something with a bit more personality. Fangohr was doing such an awesome job, it was hard to ask for another iteration.]
CRED: Design Review Three
- Finalize word mark
- Integrate Score
- Polish the (devilish) details
Wordmark and Score
We ended up sticking with the letterforms of Lubalin’s Avant Gard (below) that we first used in the currency treatment. The geometrical letters complimented a circular score treatment and it was clean and solid at the same time. Nothing you would second guess, but something reliable.
The CredScore (that determines how well we know your trust indicators) suggested a range of colors. We tried the entire spectrum first, mapped into a C shape, shifting through depending on your score, starting from the lower left.
We later decided to cut the range of colors down. Red wasn’t appropriate because it only meant we didn’t know the individual, which doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a monster.
So we went for the warm side of the color spectrum, form orange (alert) to yellow (caution) to green (thumbs up). It looked like this.
At times we had to produce mnemonic devices to remind the SF team as to why we’d gone a certain route…
CRED: final brand
When we were just about ready to launch, a Techcrunch article about a firm called “Kred” appeared out of nowhere. After some time of disbelief, the realisation set in that we needed to go back to the drawing board and rethink.
The unforeseen can be your friend. If you can let go.
After a couple of depressed nights, a new name emerged. It was “Legit.”
When the fog lifted, we could see it more clearly. Legit was good. It was better even, more direct than “Cred” and more in line with what we were shooting for. It wasn’t about whether you where on the heap of the pile, or had the most influence or followers, it was just about whether you were YOU. That’s Legit. [Matt: See the full post on how we came up with Legit.]
At this time, we had two factors working against us: The ticking clock and our own attachment to a dead brand.
Timidly, we first probed the old design to see if we were able to keep with the type. That worked fine all right. More boldly, we convinced the SF team to lose the C. And turned it into a circle, to create a stronger mark that enclosed the type in the middle. In all black it had the strength of a document stamp, in combination with a solid colour it was a score indicator
Inside the circle we break down the geometrical letterforms of Avant Garde and changed them to perfect circles to match the enclosing ring.
In the end this gave us one circle for the e, one and a half circles for the g, another for the dotted i, and the ‘circle of trust’ that framed them all. The ghost of Cred had finally been exorcised.
It left us with Legit™.
[Matt: This detour at the 11th hour was grueling. Initially when Florian and I chatted, we thought the re-branding might take a day or two. Two weeks later, we found ourselves with incredibly solid brand. I can’t thank Florian and team enough for pushing us to drop our attachments to the old Cred brand. It took us all a little bit to come around to what we knew was right :) ]