Dennis and Allie Heesh mirror NFT production in their variable identity for tech brand GMI Studios
London and Barcelona-based design studio Dennis have collaborated with Barcelonian neighbour and independent designer Allie Heesh to develop the tech-and-type-led identity for GMI Studios. A creative technology company established to explore the future of Web3 and NFTs in contemporary digital culture, GMI Studios have since gone on to author Deadheads, a popular generatively artworked NFT series. Inspired by this generative approach, Dennis and Heesh sought to create an identity for the brand that mirrors their forward-thinking, ever-evolving mindset and the iterative technology behind the scenes. “Early on in the project, we decided we wanted to create a brand that sits somewhere between lifestyle and tech,” Dennis and Heesh tell us, beginning by introducing an underlying square structure that nods to blockchain technology.
“This also gave us just enough creative freedom to create letterforms that aren’t pixelated,” they add, a popular temptation faced when making a digital brand but one the duo sought to avoid. “We also like the idea that out of a simple square grid can come beautiful and unexpected forms,” they continue, “which truly represents GMI’s constant pursuit of new possibilities in the Web3 and NFT space,” resulting in a variable wordmark built off the team’s aforementioned square grid. Discussing the creation of the letterforms, Dennis and Heesh explain how their approach to letter design reflects GMI’s creative use of templates in their NFT production. “Layers are added (or removed) to provide 1000s of unique combinations,” they note, “we tested various versions of the wordmark on 6x6, 7x7, 8x8 and 9x9 grids, creating 100s of individual styles before landing on 7x7 as the grid that offers the best balance between legibility and variety.”
Supporting Dennis and Heesh’s bespoke letterforms is the application of Swiss Typefaces’ Simplon Mono, and PolySans from Gradient, as the brand’s typefaces of choice. “Web3 and NFTs can appear an intimidating world for first-timers,” Heesh remarks, “so in our early strategic conversations, we decided it was important that the branding appears accessible without losing a certain desirability,” they add, drawn to the soft edges of PolySans. “They provide that perfect familiar contrast to the futuristic, geometric, animating wordmark,” Dennis and Heesh recall, noting its counterpart’s contrasting sincerity and pragmatic offering. “Simplon Mono is reserved for smaller text,” they explain, “underpinning the rest of the branding with a utilitarian and technological aesthetic,” a sentiment complemented by the playful use of vibrant digital colour, copywriting and imagery.