The world that needs Little Brother is not always a pretty sight. Photo agencies and search engines paint a picture that is hopeless and gruesome. The same morbidness continues on our competitors visuals, see for example here and here.
Going through the images was also a process of finding out, what we want to express with Little Brother. The first version of visual identity followed the same lines, darkness and hopelessness prevailed. Seeing that we weren’t totally satisfied. That was not the message we wanted to send to our users. So we turned back to the drawing board and started over. More related pictures, drafts and discussion on the identity. The end result was nearly a u-turn from the original imagery. The world is sufficiently grim already, we felt like we should add to that anymore. Instead we wanted to show the possibility of hope through the visual identity.
Naturally, we need to be careful when choosing the images for the identity. Not only because of copyrights but also privacy issues. Democracy activists in demonstrations understandable won’t be cheering to the idea of be used as mannequins for some mobile app. In addition, we wish to avoid too apparent links to any event, location or type of activity, like police brutality. Also, showing too detailed slogans or flags is something we choose to steer clear from. Finally, it doesn’t feel right to stage any events just to get brand photos. That is why we have decided to give a larger role to illustrations and infographics.
Usability dictates quite a lot when designing the application. The UI must be concise, clear and unobtrusive. Overall feel cannot be too bright or colorful i.e. no blinking lights and definitely no sounds can come out of the app during use. Starting point for the design is that the use of the application can be done as quietly and unnoticed as possible. This brings us to the visual identity challenge; how to make the app UI and other materials, like the web site or promo materials look like they belong together.
Little Brothers symbol shows a smaller one getting squeezed between two larger ones; David meets two Goljats. Symbol writes also as lil or slang word for ”little”. When we came up with the symbol, we gave also a lot of thought to make sure it’s easy to use as an icon in the app and social media. In the end, we are quite happy with the end result. Abstract and minimalist symbol that’s able to tell a several stories at a glance has potential to communicate app’s message even globally.
Development of the visual design is still a work in progress. We are making good progress on that front as well, following the design principles outlined here. Many questions still need answers, but one thing seems fairly certain. The symbol is here to stay.
Little Brothers: James, Timo, Matti, Jukka