[Discussion Series] Visually Adapting Gitcoin's Brand

This is the first in a new series on Gitcoin’s evolving brand strategy. Our visual brand identity is evolving as part of a larger reflection of our transition from an Impact DAO to a Protocol DAO, which we’re announcing at ETHDenver.

Process

As a values-led design team, we’ve been working to mindfully create concepts and ideas that are meaningful. This work is rooted in our brand values, and evolved in parallel with the brand strategy. For a refresh on the preceding work, watch our December Community Call and follow along with our presentation.

Outcome
Our design team has been hard at work producing visual assets and ideas to support the brand strategy work that many of you contributed to and led by Alexa. The design work being shared today is one part of a larger brand evolution process. The work is designed to shine a light on the larger function of Gitcoin, as well as reflect light on you as a contributor or community member.

Gitcoin Visual Language

Starting in GR15, our visuals began to morph and evolve into new territory in an evolving DAO ecosystem preparing for product & protocol launches. We started experimenting with shades, tones, and styles from our existing toolkit. Most importantly, we explored where to maintain the edges of the brand and when to break the rules.

For example, our current homepage banner uses legacy Gitcoin brand colors with a new illustration style. Artwork by Biux.

When we started considering how developing our protocols might impact our brand language, contributors openly asked questions in a community workshop:

Where does the humanistic element - the focus on the natural world - come into play?

What about human collaboration?

How important is it that these are included in the visual identity?

What role does creativity play when it comes to forward thinking?

Do we need to be direct about this?

Months later, the questions are still resonating with us. This process of inquiry & community input led us to develop a unique vision: BIOMEMETIC MAGIC.

Biomemetic Magic

Biomemetic magic is our semantic vision of Gitcoin’s heartbeat, and more specifically the values we uphold as we build, coordinate, communicate, and use quadratic funding tools to expand and share as a network. Words are spells, and the underlying concepts defined below leverage our unique potential to create, fund, and share in service to the communities and cultures who would benefit from mutuality.

Biomimicry is designing and building tools and structures that are based on organic materials and processes.

Memetic is the study of information and culture.

Magic is influencing ordinary life through acts of intention.

Conceptual Linguistics

Biomimicry can be seen interchangeably with nature - our source of inspiration for building structures, protocols, networks, and communities.

Memetic can be distilled to the word culture, in reference to our presence and contributions to the web3 community as well as our burgeoning audience.

Magic can be understood as intuition. In practice, intuition translates to clarity of intention, the ability to read the energy of the market, encouraging ourselves and fellow buidlrs to confidently step into the unknowable future, practice steps of trust, and build with patience.

Biomimicry and nature can be read as intelligence, the invisible grid underlying our networks and protocols.

Memetic and culture can be refined further as ideation. Ideation is a constant source of energy – both inside the DAO and the web3 community. Our ability to constantly improve our products, protocols, strategies, and yes, memes - is a rational map for future work.

Magic and intuition lead to action. In this context, action is any progress made toward a shared goal and desired outcome. Applied thought, reason, logic, science, and math all converge through magic.

Applied Concepts

You might be wondering, “How does this become something?” While we co-create definitions for how to develop biomemetic magic across product and content marketing, here is a window into our visual design system.

Introducing Lichenpunk


Artwork by Harry

Lichenpunk is an expression of Gitcoin’s niche presence, and the biomimicry aspect of biomemetic magic. Lichenpunk is the rebelliousness of mutuality, the subtle and humble networks of relationships that allow our network to flourish.

Lichenpunk is our adaptive response to solarpunk and lunarpunk. It’s a little more granular and specific to our networks, protocols, and community expression.

While solarpunk aligns with our regen vibes, we’re expanding through the scope of that movement. For lunarpunk, Gitcoin isn’t necessarily pessimistic about blockchain security and bad actors. We just care about and plan for privacy/security protections proactively. We can be protective without being fearful. We can believe in a positive future while working through the practical hurdles to get there.

Lichenpunk draws a figurative circle around all of that.

Next steps

Lunarpunk and solarpunk definitely have a place in our brand system. We’ll cover that and more in our next post, especially with how brand applies to our growing product suite.

For now, I’m happy to hear thoughts and questions! Make your voice heard in the comments, and help support the brand evolution in the process. <3

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Could not be more excited about this work.

When we first began the brand evolution work with our vision, mission, and values, there was a clear cohesion and alignment across the DAO. But translating that into a shared design ethos is an entirely separate challenge.

Biomemetic Magic as the heartbeat of the Gitcoin brand - and the expressions that cultivate an emotional connection between us, our community, our audiences, our users - is so powerful.

It speaks to the evolving nature of a living, breathing Gitcoin, where we operate by a set of shared values, working towards a shared vision, unafraid to follow our intuition, test new things,

If we take a look back at the values we originally concepted (Empowerment, Impact, Mutuality, Trust, Forward Thinking), they are all embodied here. Simultaneously, this direction allows us to flex on certain values or personality traits at different times, which turns the brand and our visuals into more strategic tools to actively support our product initiatives and goals. As the brand evolves and these new design systems emerge by product, we’re going to see how come together the strengthen our overarching brand.

Looking forward to this continued series and kudos to @birdsoar and the entire design team for this work!

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Nice! I honestly had to look up what Lichen means, so I’ll add it for the other people who also are as uninformed as I am: " A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi species in a mutualistic relationship."

On this:

I kinda feel the need to highlight that there’s really nothing pessimistic about Lunarpunk, it just starts from the assumption that a conflict between crypto and existing power structures is essentially preprogrammed. To me this is realistic, not pessimistic.

From the lunarpunk manifesto, recommended read for anyone:

Lunarpunk is more like a forest. A dense cover of encryption protects tribes and offers sanctuary for the persecuted. Wooded groves provide a crucial line of defense. Lunar landscapes are dark. They are also teeming with life.

Lunar tech is owned and operated by the people themselves in service of their freedom. Lunar settlements are a sanctuary where difference is nurtured and protected. The lunar cycle upholds democratic techniques against authoritarian technology, freedom against surveillance, and diversity against monoculture.

Appreciate the MMM discussion series, keep them coming!

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Awesome, Kris! Thanks for the feedback. Re: lunarpunk, you’ve given me a lot to think about. I have a feeling the way I phrased lunarpunk views is a common misconception about the movement.

Looking forward to reading the lunarpunk manifesto - the lines you shared are so poetic! Have you seen this? Lunarpunk and the Dark Side of the Cycle - YouTube

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Oww this is a visualization of the text I linked! :slight_smile: I call it the manifesto because it’s referenced so often in web3, but we’re talking about the same thing :sweat_smile: so definitely aligned. Thanks for that video, never saw it!

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Chills!

So excited to begin to reveal the fruits of our collective labour!

This is incredibly well articulated and the comments by @alexalombardo directly speak to the culmination of thought, work, community feedback that culminates into a resonant artistic expression of our shared values and vision.

Looking forward to seeing these design guardrails come together and having more room to play with creative in a decentralized way! Legendary work.

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Thank you, Laura! For this response, and for all of your thought leadership that guided this work across all the channels to where it is today. Same goes for @alexalombardo, who really energized all of our early conversations and workshops around brand!

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