How We Branded A Social Platform To Mobilize The Public

This article originally appeared on Column Five.

We love to collaborate with great partners who inspire us through their important work. That’s why we jumped at the chance to work with George Polisner, founder of civ.works, once we heard about his vision to turn social media into true social action.

Civ.works is a fresh social network that seeks to heal our current social and political divide by connecting citizens with each other to affect change. In other words, imagine a social platform where posts were constructive, connections were genuine, and you could mobilize IRL around the causes you care about—regardless of your politics. That’s the civ.works mission.

The concept certainly resonated with us. We strongly believe in community-building. (Our agency volunteers together, has quarterly hack days to bring our minds together, and hosts creative gatherings with others in our community.) We also know this type of action is especially important in the digital age, when feeds devolve into destructive dialogue.

In anticipation of a public launch, the civ.works team needed a proper portal to promote the platform. We came on board to create a full brand identity, as well as an explainer video and supporting assets for pre-publicity.

THE BRAND IDENTITY

Building a brand identity is always a challenge, but it’s a lot easier when a brand has a very clear, articulated mission. As we crafted the visual language, we aimed to communicate the platform’s vision through every element.

Logo: Civ.works is a call and opportunity for civic engagement, encouraging users to come together as Americans to help break down political barriers. More specifically, it is all about mobilizing people to take real steps toward change. With this in mind, we crafted an isometric logo that forms a set of steps tilted on its side, which also doubles as an abstract representation of the American flag.

Color palette: Civ.works aims to make a bold splash, to reenvision how we interact with each other so that we focus on connection and community. We chose yellow and black to inspire this action and response. We also wanted to avoid the more political red, white, and blue. Therefore, the yellow and black helped reinforce neutrality.

Illustrations: 2D isometric illustrations appear both in the site and explainer video. For these, yellow is the “loud” color used to reinforce messaging related to the platform’s goals. Simple black-and-white line drawings and typography present a clean, streamlined experience, allowing other elements to stand out.

THE EXPLAINER VIDEO

The explainer video also features isometric illustrations, relying on visual metaphors and movement to reflect the growth-through-action theme.

Brand colors were also used strategically, as all yellow elements in the explainer relate to the issues citizens care about: justice, equality, health, education, etc.

PROMOTIONAL ASSETS

In order to generate buzz, we looked for ways to promote the social network’s mission—activism and engagement—pre-launch via influencers and publications. Through a collaboration with PopSugar, we designed a series of printable slogans for the Women’s March.

The prints which garnered 378 shares and 1,600+ Instagram likes. 

Building this identity was an exciting challenge, which we enjoyed every step of the way. We’re personally excited to see civ.works grow (keep an eye out for more expansion over the next two months), and we hope you’ll check it out.

For more branding projects, check out the ocean-inspired visual identity we created for UCI Applied Innovation and the packaging we created for Trezo d’Haiti coffee.

Need help creating powerful branded content? Let Column Five hook you up.

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