Branding Blockchain & Defining Why’s

The first time I heard about (or more accurately, cared about) blockchain was last summer, when Craig and I caught up while I was holidaying at Mount Maunganui. The last time I had seen him was on the dancefloor at 3am a decade earlier, so I was looking forward to sharing the stories that had lead us to this point of almost adulting, and what we were doing with our lives now. “Blockchain” he said. And this this little thing called “NavCoin”. I stared back at him with glazed over eyes, the spinning rainbow wheel of Macintosh clearly visible on my forehead.

I guess it’s no secret that I am by no means, a techhead. Those who know me know that I don’t have a TV, I never update software on my devices, and turning my phone on in the morning before I have mediated, done yoga, chanted and listed out gratitudes for the days is sacrilege.

Having said that, I’m not all plant medicine in the Amazon and fire dancing on shorelines. I am an entrepreneur and have travelled the world with my businesses, learning and growing through the many challenges of startup life. I like to stay connected to consciousness, wear red lipstick, and play a big game in the world. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I was so attracted to this project.

Admittedly, I had met a Bitcoin basher before, a few years prior in the Bitcoin buzz of 2013, a Tinder date told me about the wonders of cryptocurrency and he rambled on for hours about the benefits and game changing qualities of the tech. I didn’t see him again. He is probably a billionaire now.

Craig however, sold the dream to me in an entirely different way. Why? What is it about Craig’s vision that had me so sold, in comparison to the other crypto enthusiast I met?

The more I listened, the clearer it became that this whole blockchain business did have the potential to make quite a stir, but for the better (a key component my fateful Tinder friend didn’t quite grasp). It’s taken me a while to understand the essence of blockchain technology and what it could mean for the planet. But it was really Craig, the founder and CEO of Encrypt-S that sealed the deal. It wasn’t just his unwavering commitment to his word, his genuine generosity, humble nature and relentless attention to detail. But also his attitude to this technology and what he stands for that got me. He cares. His integrity is the foundation of he does. I think that’s pretty damn cool.

One year on from my beach holiday, I have moved back to New Zealand and am working almost full time with Encrypt-S. (I don’t like to work more than 4 days a week — health is wealth!).

Since joining the team, the build up to the launch of the new blockchain product we call Valence has been at the forefront of our daily tasks and long term goals. As I’m sure anyone working in the industry will know, it’s a process to say the least. “Riding the shifting dunes of the blockchain landscape” has meant we’ve needed to be constantly alert and ready to adapt, dodge bullets and jump through burning fire hoops, while balancing water bowls on our heads. It’s fun really. Never a dull day in the office.

The recent task of designing the branding of the Valence platform has been much more than a simple logo design job. I wanted to truly capture our perspective on the nature of Valence as a platform, and express it from the Encrypt-S point of view. In fact an added bonus to this exercise has been that as the Encrypt-S team expands, it’s been hugely beneficial to gain a deeper understanding of our core values as a company. And it was only eight short months ago that Craig and Matt were working in a spare bedroom

The culture at Encrypt-S is the perfect mix of trust, autonomy and collaboration. Perfect for a type-A millennial like myself — freedom with a touch of teamwork. This workflow really shined in the design process for Valence. While I had the ownership of the process, we had several check in points with the whole team. People were able to absorb and give feedback (which I actually listened to) and genuinely be a part of the process in whatever capacity they wanted. It just goes to show, in a trustless world of automation there is still need for organic human connection and flow.

It’s been a journey of discovery for the whole team defining and refining our voice, our vision, our moral philosophy and most importantly, our Why’s.

I’ve made a video explaining the design process in more detail — how we came to the visual concept of Valence and from there gained a clear direction for brand design moving forward.