Personalization comes at a steep price. In 2018, I was part of a team challenged to create a brand experience for an early-stage content recommendation startup with a vision to create a better, safer way to enjoy the internet.
Research, Naming, Strategy, Visual Design, Frontend Development
Dropbox Paper, Google Drive, Draw.io, Balsamiq, Sketch, Zeplin
I researched and shaped verbal and visual language for a content discovery startup. In addition to branding, I designed and built the first iteration of the company website to attract investors and talent.
Finding the good: positive and private personalization through machine learning
Bryan Whitman, Canopy’s founder, departed from Spotify to invent a new technology to experience the internet and personalization without giving away your data. Through the use of machine learning and differential privacy, the 'new way' shields users from becoming vulnerable to data misuse, hacking, manipulation, radicalization, and hate speech. Our challenge was to develop an identity and creatively communicate the sophisticated on-device technology in an uncomplicated way that can instill trust, attract users, investors, and a dream team to make it all possible.
How can we communicate our vision and sophisticated technology humanly?
After developing the verbal brand language, we began exploring the possibilities of Canopy’s visual expression. Using brand attributes as a north star, we gathered inspiration to form a mood board, narrowing within categories: organic softness, unexpected textures, modular variations, selective focus, and revealing intersections. The team then experimented with crafting forms by hand. This departure from the digital world helped the final mark ultimately have a more organic, human feel.
Applying the visual system: design through development
The visual language is built around revealing and concealing. Artful, illustrative strokes create layered, personal landscapes, and viewfinders. Color and typography add warmth, while motion adds surprise and infinite layering possibilities. When considering the brand's attributes and its visual system, I aimed to create an uncomplicated site that feels warm, trustworthy, and informative to investors, talent, and curious visitors. With a tight timeline of just two weeks to build, I also had the opportunity to utilize my frontend development skills.
A nod to nature and the Canopy layer
subtle reinforcement of the protective privacy layer users recieve with Canopy's technology.
Animation in situ
A view of the final amination alongside brand copy written in
collaboration with Canopy's copywriter. Motion design by Jessie Lankford and Rachel Shim.
Who's on board?
Showing and listing the founding team members was intentional in celebrating each individual
and being transparent about who's a part of the company.
Good news: the Canopy brand in the world and into acquisition.
Armed with their new brand, site, and guidelines, Canopy raised 4.5M in funding. Additionally, the team expanded after attracting talent from companies such as Instagram and The New York Times. The visual language was applied to the Tonic UI, an application that recommends a selection of personalized content to read daily. In April 2020, CNN fully acquired Canopy, including talent, IP, and other assets.