ExpressVPN’s new look brings a human touch to digital security

DesignStudio has given the digital security and privacy brand a friendly facelift that eschews the fearmongering tropes favoured by the market

The Sydney arm of DesignStudio has created a fresh look for ExpressVPN, a virtual private network service that offers encryption and can masks users’ IP addresses. The use of VPNs is becoming more prevalent as a greater portion of our lives play out online, combined with growing scepticism towards the security offered by big tech (not to mention a desire to access Netflix streams available in other countries).

ExpressVPN’s new branding aims to steer clear of the “category codes of fear and negativity” and “reimagine digital protection in a more accessible, personable way,” according to the studio.

“Over the past 12 months we’ve been working hand-in-hand with the ExpressVPN team to bring their new brand strategy and visual identity to life. Together we’re challenging how a privacy and security tech-co behaves, looks, feels and sounds,” says DesignStudio creative director James Gilmore. “This shift to a more personable and optimistic brand will set ExpressVPN apart, help enable future strategies and set them up to succeed both internally and with consumers.”

While the new UI is crisp and the logo sleek, the rest of the new design system is decidedly friendlier, with bright tones, rounded shapes and human-centric illustrations at the heart of new look. The illustrations, created by Ping Zhu, were introduced to help explain lofty topics.

The result is a vibrant visual language that feels more in tune with the lifestyle sector rather than the serious, often scaremongering cues that have been the predominant face of digital security software and products.

Although there’s an argument that steely, harsh aesthetics might make such services feel more robust, given the way digital has become embedded in our lives, ExpressVPN’s new branding feels like a refreshing shift in tone.