We’ve previously talked about our experience working with branding for fintechs, medtechs, and edtechs. Even when the products in these industries are entirely digital and never seen before, they take roots from storied industries. They’re in our culture: it’s easy to explain a neobank to someone, even if they somehow have no experience with digital banking. It’s a bank, but online.
Cryptocurrencies are brand new in the grand scheme of things, and they still don’t have established imagery to them. But there are some cliches already.
We’ve worked on dozens of crypto-related projects, and here we’ll share what we’ve learned working with this market.
Random gradients, portals and labyrinths, headstrong metaphors (coins have to look like physical coins, mining shows literal mining, etc) — still widespread at this moment in time, but are on their way out. In the rapidly shifting market with a low entry barrier, looking boring and predictable won’t get you anywhere. Of course, a brand new project might not have the resource for a well thought-out branding identity and they might have to rely on obvious solutions. Yet, they’ll have to switch it up fast if they want to stick around.
Plenty of crypto projects use darker colors for backgrounds in their visuals — this is a key pattern. They invite us into their own world, with its own community and its own rules. But even that is on its way out, as crypto projects now choose to remain in light.
The key is the audience. While crypto is still brand new on the historic scale, it’s becoming more and more common. It’s not enough anymore to say "we’re crypto" and explain blockchain in simplistic terms. A project needs to stand out to find its audience.
While far flung all over the world, the crypto community is unified. The only shared cultural code is the belief in this bright tomorrow. Some products, for a wider audience, do have to explain crypto to their potential customers: but that’s not the universal case anymore. The audience knows who they are and what they’re here for, and they need to be pulled into this world that is being created in front of our eyes.
Branding for Platforms
Sushi with its neon logo doesn’t make any sense. It’s not edible or anything. And there’s no correlation with the product whatsoever. While the neon trend is on its way out, it’s working for Sushi for the time being: it is memorable, after all. Crypto Sushi.
Whereas newer products that aren’t as recognizable come out with more down-to-earth branding. Simultaneously with these pie-in-the-sky notions, we have more day-to-day applications to crypto, and this clash of something new and vibrant with our daily routines. That is particularly notable for wallets.
Branding for Wallets and Banking
Crypto wallets and banking apps now don’t stray far from fintech branding. The cutting edge of the fintech branding — more emotional, vibrant, but not as bold or mismatched as one could expect from a crypto product.
Branding for NFTs
While OpenSea and NFTBank maintain a safe, practical look, the projects that directly deal with NFTs are a lot more colorful.
NFTs are connected to a lot of things — art, music, gaming, etc. All of these would require a different approach, one that is appropriate for the niche, but they will always be more audacious than their regular counterparts.
Web 3.0 projects aren’t brand new anymore, but they are still going through growing pains. At a glance, the industry so focused on decentralization and uniqueness can look surprisingly homogenous. Regardless, it is a market that shifts at an unprecedented pace. Already there is a wide and vibrant variety of takes on what a crypto project could look like — some go into 8bit stylings, some into retrofuturism, some into lineart, and more, and more, and more. We’re excited to see what comes next.