Brainstorming imagery

After years of perfecting my process, it always comes back to keeping concepting loose and analog

A: Mix of ‘money tree’ and ‘the giving tree’; community planting/playing amongst tree

B: Showing personas (culture guy vs. bow-tie finance guy); incorporating venn diagram speech bubble here

C: Chaos and movement; this gets the point across but feels visually busy (and isn’t soothing to look at)

D: Experimentation with venn diagram intersection (this is where the below built out concept comes from)

Brainstorming type personality and layout

With the forced square dimensions + small view size, we need to either break up the two words connected by X, or shorten to commXcap — otherwise text will be small and not very legible.

Trendy is definitely the wrong vibe
Illegible when small
Mixed typeface personalities feels too literal
Type feels too hardened/techy; not right for broad audience
Want a double-story a so reads less playful...
Perfect typeface; basic layout
Not bad

Narrowing in on
our #1 concept

  • Feels iconic (even NPR-level, in a way) — great for spanning a wide audience
  • The dark-green intersection feels like a spatial void, bursting with potential for the unknown/chaos
  • This is visually digestible and the overall concept invites the [word]x[word] to have a more dynamic layout (especially given it needs to be on two lines in order to remain legible)

We were most excited about direction D (above), showcasing an abstracted/modernized venn diagram showcasing intersection (collision) of community (red) + capital (blue).

The type choice has the perfect personality for the project: strong, sharp, and well-spoken. The Modernized Mid Century typeface has universal appeal and is a great alternative to overused Swiss-style sans-serif typefaces. Also it was created by an independent typographer ✨

Final explorations

The tinkering here was mostly around ensuring a nice balance between legibility (enough contrast with text and background) and interest. E.g. the first example below is symmetrical and highly legible, but it’s boring. The second example is visually interesting, but might get lost in translation. The third example is juuuust right!

Fitting all the text inside the dark intersection is objectively the most legible/clear given the high contrast background. I’d want to do a lowercase ‘x’ here; uppercase doesn’t feel balanced. This is the safest design, but also the least interesting.
This is very close to the original concept; y touching outside, X touching intersection. Conceptually this is very complex/thoughtfully designed, but I do worry that the X could get lost and a viewer could read this as community capital.
The clear winner 🙂 Pulling the X inside the venn loses that X = intersection concept, but visually works well. Here we’re able to fold back in the green hues ($$) in the intersection while maintaining contrast (legibility) and visual balance throughout.
Given Community X Capital was being referred to shorthand as comXcap, we considered having an alternate — or secondary — version of the log with wordmark only. This option provides more flexibility for embroidery, vinyl, etc (whereas full-color can be more limiting in real-world applications such as package design and swag).
Example of extending the brand for unique interview episodes
Swag example
Swag example
Swag example
Final artwork

Alt Goes Mainstream

Podcast artwork and branding for Alt Goes Mainstream, a podcast by Michael Sidgemore.

We wanted the podcast branding (artwork) to feel familiar yet new.

Due diligence

  • SME in this emerging field — show the balance of both deep financial expertise and also cool/next-gen
  • Preview a brave new world with the coming together of old and traditional financial institutions (suits) with Silicon Valley entrepreneurial and daring spirits
  • Educational tool for founders, VCs, wealth managers, etc
  • Adjectives: Bold, Focused, Technical
  • “from Wall Street to Melrose Ave” / “collision of culture and finance.”

After some consideration, the BTC coin drew too much attention. We removed it and landed on a very simple composition, also adding in other alt assets into the bill (sneakers, sports cards).

Final bill artwork
Final podcast logo artwork

Comedy branding

Even though these might seem very different from the above podcast art (very different personal brands!), the challenge of designing artwork for ~50px x 50px (very tiny!) square dimensions that packs a punch remains consistent.

Bottom line: K.I.S.S.

I remember a marketing professor at UVA McIntire preaching K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid!). As a student I rolled my eyes at the acronym. But as an adult, I reflect on it often. K.I.S.S. certainly applies to podcast artwork — viewers see it teeny tiny on their phones so the less clutter the better in readability, skimmability, and clarity in the type of content you'll consume by tuning in.

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