Kickstarter has unveiled a rebrand by New York-based design studio Order, which aims to show the crowdfunding platform has “grown up”. Order worked with Kickstarter’s leadership and design team on developing the brand identity with a chunkier wordmark and logo, new core typefaces and updated colour scheme, for visuals briefed as “a haircut not a makeover”.
To make the brand feel more grown up, Order started with the logotype. “Early on we discovered that their old wordmark used the same typeface as Dunkin’ Donuts,” says Order’s Hamish Smyth. “While I’m a fan of DD, the type choice gave Kickstarter a bit of a childish look. I think that early design served them well, especially as a platform that, in its early days, was a chaotic (and amazing) place where weird ideas came to live. Crowdfunding has matured and evolved since their early days, and we thought the brand needed to reflect that.”
Kickstarter came to Order with the idea for a bulkier K mark. Using that as a starting point, Order explored a whole “fat” alphabet, evolving the wordmark and K icon to build on the brand’s recognisable rounded letterforms. “Going thinner or using a standard typeface was probably not going to help them,” Hamish explains.
After doing 90% of the development, Hamish says the project hit a point where they needed professional help drawing the characters. “For the life of us we could not get the ‘S’ to work, among others. We called Jesse Ragan, one half of XYZ Type, who killed it, literally overnight, and redrew every character.” Order chose to ditch the old lime green and black and make the mark all one colour, a darker teal green. “We hope it keeps the playful spirit of the original logo, while feeling a little bit more established and custom made for Kickstarter.”
The typeface is Cooper Light, a cut of a typeface best known for font Cooper Black – “a favourite in the 70s and kind of a cult classic,” says Hamish. “The Black cut has so much personality but it was too bulky and similar to the new wordmark. We loved the way the curves of Cooper Light reflected the curves in the new wordmark. We also liked how using a serif as the primary typeface lends Kickstarter a more editorial feel.”
Order also rebranded Drip, a company Kickstarter recently bought and relaunched as a subscription-based, crowdfunding platform. Rather than enabling one-time project funding, Drip is for creators seeking to fund and build a community around their ongoing practice. For its brand identity, Order toyed with keeping it similar to Kickstarter’s new look but it was decided to keep it visually separate. The final wordmark uses the dot of the ‘i’ to represent a drip, and typeface Boing from foundry A2-Type, while keeping its original brand colour.
For Hamish and Order co-founder Jesse Reed, this project was personally important. It’s Nice That readers probably know the ex-Pentagram duo from their publishing imprint Standards Manual, which has launched multiple books such as the Nasa Graphics Standards Manual and the New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual via Kickstarter. Also, Hamish’s girlfriend Alex Daly is the so-called “Crowdsourceress” founder of crowdfunding agency Vann Alexandra. “We felt uniquely qualified to tackle this assignment,” Hamish says. “I can say that Kickstarter has changed our lives, as it has done for many creators. It was an honour to work for the people that made that happen, and we couldn’t be happier with the evolution the brand has taken.”