While cryptocurrencies may still feel like a foreign concept to many of us, they are set to become a big part of our daily lives in the coming years. You only have to look at the huge rise in value of Bitcoin, which has already peaked at nearly $20,000, or the established brands attempting to get in on the action, as seen with Facebook acquiring blockchain startup Chainspace earlier this year.
As crypto companies become more mainstream, it seems inevitable that the branding and design of these products will become more polished as well. In a recent piece on CR about how cryptocurrency is funding creativity, Pentagram Partner Jon Marshall discussed the wider acknowledgement of the importance of user-friendly design among the crypto community.
One of the examples cited by Marshall in the piece is Wirex, an app that allows you to convert traditional currencies into cryptocurrencies, and also includes a Visa debit card so that you can spend your hard-earned cryptos. Founded in 2014, the company says its mission is to bridge the gap between traditional currencies and cryptocurrencies.
Wirex’s original branding eschewed the overly-techy aesthetic typically seen in the early days of crypto for a simple, flexible aesthetic that felt more reminiscent of big tech brands like Google or Facebook. Its new visual identity, created by Marshall’s fellow Pentagram Partners Luke Powell and Jody Hudson-Powell, positions it firmly in the camp of the friendly fintech startup.
A new, sans serif Wirex wordmark features the brand’s signature double strikethrough as a nod to the graphic elements used in currencies like the pound and the US dollar, while an angular ‘r’ looks to complement the rest of the app’s geometric aesthetic.
IBM Plex Sans has been chosen as the main font family, and a bright colour palette of dark and light green is used with various shades of pastels and greys to differentiate Wirex’s standard and premium payment cards. A series of playful illustrations by Tatyana Yakunova places several smiling characters alongside bitcoin and pound coin graphics.
The rebrand is a clear attempt to position Wirex as an everyday brand for everybody. While the poppy brand colours and friendly illustrations are a welcome change from the sombre blues and bland graphics traditionally associated with banks and financial institutions, it’s a style that has already been done (and done well) by the likes of Monzo and ANNA.
You can’t blame startups like Wirex for trying to show the more friendly face of finance – particularly given how complicated many of us still find crypto – but there’s a risk that this design style is already becoming generic. Perhaps it’s time to see a fintech brand taking an altogether different approach?