How Groove’s Quirky Color Scheme Was Born
An interview with Emunah Winer
Emunah Winer is the director of visual design at Nihilo, and she’s also the mind responsible for Groove’s original, quirky branding and color scheme. We often get comments about how unusual our branding is, so our Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer Tova Safra sat down with Emunah to pick her brain about her creative process.
Hey Emunah! How’s your wonderful self doing today?
Good! It’s beautiful out — sunny but windy, my favorite weather.
How would you describe what you do, to an 8 year old?
This should be an easy one, because I explain it to my 6-year-old all the time. In her words “She draws pictures for companies so that you know which company is giving you your stuff.” In my words, “I create dynamic visual systems for companies that communicate a reliable, singular, and consistent brand story with their customers.” I like my 6 year old’s answer better.
What are some of the things that help you do your best work?
Research, collaboration, and most of all restraints. I need to understand what a brand cannot be before I can learn what exactly it should be.
When did you realize (or how did you learn) that those were the things?
Whenever I’m thrown a project where someone tells me “do whatever you want.” That becomes extremely overwhelming with no clear path to answer the key questions. It can be anything. And when that happens, I can come up with tens of variations of “good looking brands” without any of them having true, specific, and unique meaning to a specific brand. If we don’t know how to measure the success of a brand, we’re doomed to fail from the get go.
What is your approach to working with color? Or, how do you feel about color?
I think color is a unique opportunity to reference inspiration without it feeling gimmicky or trite. I also think it can provide a sense of surprise for a brand identity — not necessarily within the scheme alone, but against all the other aspects of the identity. For example, if you build something that is very slick, modern, and minimalist, but then pair it with a color palette that’s the opposite of that, it invites the user to question and engage with the brand with curiosity. It suddenly feels new and unexpected. I think curiosity is super powerful.
What was behind Groove’s color scheme?
I think a part of the inspiration was retro references, almost like an old wind-up phone — old school communication and talking to one another. I feel like this color palette holds both the old and the new together
We tried out quite a few schemes before we landed on this one. The original presentation included colors that were much more saturated and primary across the board. Ultimately that felt too expected and almost…cold? The current color scheme is exciting because it has both retro/old references in the greens and pinks, but also newer, contemporary colors like the orange and blue. It takes courage to break the mold of a typical tech brand, and this color palette does that — all the credit there goes to the courageous Groove founders.
A lot of your work has retro references, or takes something from decades past and updates it. Is this something you do intentionally? Or does it kind of just happen?
That’s so funny, I don’t even see it that way! It helps me to tell a story through my work; I always try to have intention behind the choices I make. What is this referencing? Why? Will the user get it? Or get it just enough, without knowing they’re getting it? Using historical references for inspiration is a powerful tool because we all have connections with the past, whether they’re subconscious or conscious. Using retro or historical references taps into those emotional connections.
I’ve heard you say that when you are working with clients, it’s courage that matters. That’s an unusual idea. Care to say a few words?
I do say that, don’t I? I guess because otherwise what’s the point? You have to be willing to make someone angry. That’s actually ideal — it will turn away all the customers that are not for you, and allow you to focus exclusively on your ideal person. It’s worth it to piss off a thousand one-time users if it’ll get you one hundred super-fans. This attitude becomes really important while making decisions during the branding process — I see that the founders I work with who are willing to take risks are the ones who succeed. If you’re not willing to push a concept 100%, you end up falling somewhere in the middle, neither here nor there. Nobody wants that.
Thank you Emunah! Keep on being awesome.
You too 🕺🏼
If you liked this article, check these out:
- Self-Care as a Community Leader
- The Solopreneur’s Toolkit: Making It in the Music Industry
- Or, if you’re on a solopreneur looking for more support, accountability and focus join Groove’s online coworking community to get sh*t done and have a good time while you’re at it ➡️ groove.ooo