Moniker combine function and flair in their lively identity refresh for crypto platform Coinbase
Digital cryptocurrency platform Coinbase, established to create the most accessible online crypto economy, found itself caught between two contexts – leading the wave of new economic conventions while seeking to inhabit the same space as traditional banking. In need of an identity refresh to best traverse this landscape, Coinbase turned to San Francisco-based design studio Moniker – looking for a system that brings the digital financial future together with the trust and security of tradition.
To start with, Moniker turned towards typical financial documents for typographic inspiration – finding interest in the character of blue-collar modernist typefaces such as Mercator, Neuzeit S and Folio that are typically overshadowed by Univers and Helvetica. Bringing together their functional durability and timeless quirks, Moniker sought to challenge contemporary banking’s legacy and prevailing visual tropes in the creation of a bespoke hero typeface; Coinbase Sans.
“As we were exploring the identity across various applications, it became clear we’d need something custom to capture not only the brand personality,” Founder and Creative Director Brent Couchman tells us, “but to achieve the clarity we were looking for in specific product contexts,” he explains, beginning with the smaller and more complex applications of the typeface. “We started with some of the toughest UI, which were dense with information,” Couchman remarks, “and moved on from there, sliding from functional to more expressive to capture more of the brand personality across the family,” resulting in an extended family of 36 styles and 29,000 glyphs over its Optical, Display, Text, Micro and Mono versions. Typographically executed in a striking and stark Swiss-like fashion, the deployment of Coinbase Sans within the lively compositional framework of the resulting identity feels both self-aware and sincere.
Providing a sense of firm belonging and recognition within the industry is the vibrant use of colour, opting for a digital blue as the primary choice. “The blue was one of the only elements from the previous identity that was identifiable, so it was all about retaining that equity,” Couchman recalls, “we increased the saturation and brightness a bit for that core blue and introduced a secondary palette,” he adds, providing a sense of differentiation, flexibility and intention across the various deliverables. “As the brand has grown and pushed into new markets, introduced new sub-brands, etc.,” Couchman concludes, “that flexibility was really important to allow the team to have much more range of expression with colour.”