I’m working on branding design for my new subscription service-as-a-service business (EnrollMint™), and I’m visually developing a theme that ties in currency and security. The service will eventually have an iPhone/iPad app to track customer and subscription analytics and display them on your mobile device. Since that requires an icon and a few other branding assets, I figured now is as good a time as any to get started with some concepts. I churned out some filth before I decided to backpedal and see if I could find inspiration in google images.
I like the association of coins with the mint, and I also like the column style building facade that inspires trust and a sense of long-lasting integrity. From there, I expanded into something I love, integrating simple typography into shapes. This was one of my favorite exercises in 2D design class in college. Immediately, I thought “mint starts with m; so does money” and my mind jumped to the visual similarity of the legs of the m (lower case) and the columns in the building facade.
Here’s a snapshot of the evolution of the concept:
The evolution started with the curly arrow in the top left, which I quickly scrapped because of the difficulty of conveying a scroll or “important document” impression, compounded by the wide horizontal aspect. Icons need to be square or round to be most effective. I started to incorporate the sense of people in the image, but the first impression I get when I imagine a bunch of stick figures superimposed over the stairs of a column building, I think “tourists visiting the Lincoln Memorial.” Nice image, but not exactly giving you the impression of making money.
I struggled with minutia, like the round parts of the m, and how to integrate them cleanly into the column headers. That didn’t really settle out until I rendered it smaller and wrapped it with a circular border to represent the raised edge around the perimeter of a coin. The coin transition also solved my problem of how to integrate the word “enroll” into the image. Since coins typically have text around the edge, offset and justified to follow the curve of the coin, this was a perfect place to put the text.
Here’s a close-up of the resulting product:
This will likely evolve into logos, icons, and assorted image assets for the web and mobile apps.
Where did this inspiration come from? Much of it came from a project I did a few years ago as a favor to my then girlfriend, Dru. She was turning 25, and we had a party at my place to celebrate. I designed and printed the invitations. She liked the idea of a quarter century theme, so we found a quarter image, took some side pictures of her, and used them to assemble a picture of a quarter with the word “dollar” replaced with “century” and Washington’s face replaced with Dru’s face. Who knew I’d use a very similar technique years later on a completely unrelated project? (There are two easter eggs also. One is fairly easy to spot. If anyone gets the other, I’ll be extremely surprised.)
Here’s the finished invitation, for your amusement (important details redacted, of course):
I am not a professional designer (far from it), but I think they turned out really well. I’m even more pleased that I can use this theme for these vital branding assets for an exciting and potentially lucrative project.