Bee Token —
To Bee or Not to Bee
It all started as a side project when a friend reached out and asked, "We got 3-4 engineers from Facebook, Google, Uber, and we need real life help [marketing/design]." A few months later, I left Google to join our blockchain startup full time.
Bee Token aims to reinvent the home sharing economy by leveraging the blockchain technology. Leading design at Bee Token, it has been exciting bringing a brand to life, launching the dApp Beenest, a decentralized platform of travelers and hosts powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Here I aim to provide a behind the scenes account of building the brand.
+ Establish the brand
Our CEO Jon brought me, a designer, on as the first member of his team. To me, building a brand from scratch requires utilizing the creative best practices from the best brands in the world: building a brand style guide at its onset and driving visual style and messaging consistency across the organization.
I started by defining the brand's look & feel, working with others on the team to come up with the company name and key messaging, as well as creating a style guide outlining logo behavior, color, and typography.
I created brand mood boards to get a sense of how the team feels about the brand and to determine visual direction. I labeled each mood board with emotions and keywords, as well as possible color palette. After discussion, we went with a combination of 2 & 3 below, with yellow as the main brand color and dark blue as the secondary brand color.
Funny story, Jon said yellow resounded with him quickly because he saw a video that highlights the many popular yellow cartoon characters against the blue sky, pointing to the effective use of yellow as an impactful brand color.
After naming the company "Bee" and the product "Beenest", I did numerous research on logos in the housing / real estate industry as well as those that utilizes the "bee" or "honeycomb" motifs. Similar to mood boards, I created a number of logo style variations to determine the best direction. And iterated upon the direction chosen.
The never perfect final logo —
I tried combining the idea of home sharing with bee. The logo mark conveys home, while utilizing the hexagonal shape of the honeycomb. Later on a friend told me that in addition to the house and the hexagon, she also sees the shape of a coin in the logomark, which fits in the cryptocurrency world. It's amazing when you design something, and others surprise you by seeing it in a different light than you do.
A brand is incomplete without establishing some ground rules — namely, the visual style guide.
A professional brand pays attention to details, and does not leave room for inconsistency. In order to ensure consistent representation of our brand, I made some guidelines for the team to follow. I pulled some of the pages from the style guide below.
+ Web design
In the cryptocurrency world, building and funding a company works a little differently from a traditional company. In the initial stages, a lot of weight is placed on the marketing landing page highlighting the company mission, team, roadmap, and whitepaper.
The nature of the cryptocurrency industry dictates the structure of the landing page — a long single page as opposed to dividing into multiple pages. In the world of crypto investors, they are used to investing based on a reputable team and a well-written whitepaper. Thus, the team is included on the home page, with whitepaper being the main call to action above the fold.
As we are all aware, design is made better with iterations. I was not too satisfied with my design and continued to iterate for a more compelling design. The previous design was conservative and spoke the character of a real estate company. However, we are not only in the housing industry but also in the crypto space, with allows more room for experimentation and out of the norm visuals. Thus, I incorporated "bee" and "hexagon" motifs and worked with our front end developers to push our the next version of web design a few weeks later.
A side note, while our front end was busy coding out the hexagons, I had the chance to organize a team photoshoot to take everyone's headshots, which may seem small but really made the difference in the overall professionalism of the website!