How we’ve developed our brand
We are changing our name. As of today, NEX will be known as Nash.
Renaming to Nash allows us to improve the brand we’ve already established. Our slogans and general aesthetic approach will stay the same. We took the opportunity to interview our Marketing and Design teams about how they’ve developed our brand as a whole.
Joining the conversation are Carla Paiva (Chief Marketing Officer), Nathaniel Walpole (Chief Design Officer), Clare Saunders (Communications Specialist), Chris Fenwick (Communications Consultant) and Erika Truscott (Lead Designer).
Why is NEX changing its name to Nash?
Carla Paiva: We’ve acquired a large following and have a fantastic community offering us support. We know how fond people are of the NEX name and brand. But we’re also looking to the future and thinking of people who haven’t heard our name yet. We want to bring distributed finance to everyone, and we need a name that will help us achieve that — a name that will help us gain millions of users within our first year.
In November 2018, we faced a legal action from a company claiming rights to the name “NEX”. This put us on the spot. Should we fight to retain the name, a potentially risky and costly move? Or should we consider how well that name functions with the brand we’ve built and see if we could improve on it?
On reflection, we chose the second option, and we’re glad we did.
We’ve moved very fast and built our platform in roughly 16 months. However, in the process, we’ve seen the brand take on a life of its own. “NEX” stands for “Neon Exchange”, the original name of the project. While “NEX” is short and snappy, it has left us with two identities: the official “Neon Exchange” and the shorter “NEX”. As we prepare for launch, we have to ask: is this the best way to approach millions of new users?
Clare Saunders: There’s also the issue of NEO and Neon. NEO is one of the networks to be supported at launch and we used it to hold our ICO. A number of our founders and developers are also major figures in the open-source NEO community. However, we don’t wish to overstate the connection between our company and NEO. We are our own project and could migrate our infrastructure to another blockchain if necessary. We’ll also be supporting other networks from launch and adding more in the future. As such, we don’t want a name that ties us to another company.
Carla Paiva: Exactly. Our new name, Nash, reflects our commitment to revitalizing the world of economics — to changing the way people think about finance. We think this name will let us reach as many people as possible.
How does the new name affect the brand?
Nathaniel Walpole: It’s let us keep the essentials but make a number of improvements. The new logo is designed to fit the brand we’ve already created and to express our central ideas more effectively.
We started with the idea of motion before we came up with any designs. It’s the single idea underpinning our work. We want to represent the flow of assets between A and B. In traditional financial systems, there are lots of hurdles in the way and too much time is involved. The experience of flow is generally lacking. Our products provide ways to connect A and B more smoothly.
With the Nash logo, I wanted to convey the idea of momentum in the transfer of funds and the speed with which assets move. This is achieved with the italicized typeface and the dashes to the left, which also provide subtle cues towards currency, like the strip on the back of a credit card. The embellishments on the “n” and “h” also contribute to this symbolism, suggesting the direction of travel of assets as they move through Nash.
I went for a fairly strong typeface to elicit the idea of trust. However, I also smoothed off the corners to make it appear approachable — they were quite harsh before. Likewise, choosing a lowercase “n” creates a more approachable and friendly logo in terms of a user’s immediate emotional response. We strive to create this friendly, emotional response within our products, so it makes sense to take the same approach in our logo.
Chris Fenwick: In our copy, we’re going for the uppercase style: Nash. Things can look ugly and confusing when sentences begin with a lowercase letter, or when the company name can’t be distinguished clearly from words around it. The lowercase logo and uppercase copy approach has been taken successfully by companies like Amazon, Facebook and Coinbase, so there should be no issues there.
Nathaniel Walpole: Overall, I think the new logo is a great improvement. It’s no longer a logo just for an exchange. Rather, it embodies our whole brand and expresses our fundamental ideas better than the old logo did. That means there’s a lot of continuity.
For instance, we’re keeping our original typeface, Asap, across all our materials. This kind of sans-serif font is ideal: it has connotations of finance and technology, and creates the right kind of emotional response. However, we’re also pairing it with a new headline font, Sofia Pro, which has a particularly approachable feel. It links to the style of our logo and harmonizes nicely with Asap.
We’re also keeping our color scheme of blues and grays. Those colors are associated with finance and money, and also tend to elicit trust.
Carla Paiva: Trust is especially important for any company involved in finance. It’s also key to our brand values of integrity and transparency.
Clare Saunders: You can always tell when companies are lying — when they make up fake answers and never say what really happened. We’re not like that. That’s why we’re also admitting that our renaming was prompted by a legal dispute. We’re all very happy with the result and think the new name and logo have helped improve the brand. But we’re also being honest about what started the process.
How did you come up with slogans for the brand?
Carla Paiva: We have two slogans: a product tagline and a company motto. The product line is quite straightforward: “Trade. Pay. Invest. Distributing finance for everyone.” As with the new logo, we wanted to focus on the suite of products as a whole, not just the Exchange, and we wanted to be simple and direct. We name what you can do with our products in the most immediate manner possible.
Chris Fenwick: The second part, “Distributing finance for everyone,” is a bit more evocative. Our mission is to make distributed finance available to everyone, but we chose this phrasing to bring the tagline to life. By making “distributed” into a verb, we bring some action into the phrase and imply that the company is going out and making this happen — which is true. It also connects to the general feeling of movement or momentum underlying our brand.
Carla Paiva: The job of the company motto isn’t to describe the products. It’s to convey an attitude that customers want to identify with. Successful mottos like “Think Different” or “Just Do It” aren’t directly focussed on products — they go after a feeling.
Chris Fenwick: “Trust Yourselves” lets us convey an attitude while maintaining a link to what we’re fundamentally about: decentralization. It lets us communicate the most basic idea of blockchain technology in a way that’s easily comprehensible because it connects it to a feeling, not just a conceptual description.
We chose to put “Yourselves” in the plural for a number of reasons. “Trust Yourself” would be too clichéd, since it’s a common phrase. We wanted to make the motto slightly (but not excessively) unusual. If you look at how the Community is using it now, it already seems to have been happily adopted, with the “unusual” element being forgotten. In a way, that’s similar to “Think Different”. If you reflect on it, that’s also an unusual phrase. “Different” isn’t frequently used as an adverb like that.
Carla Paiva: We also wanted to speak to a collective of individuals, not just individuals. We value autonomy and diversity, but we believe that by nurturing these ideals we improve things for everyone — for a collective. We view decentralization as a radical technology that can help the world as a whole.
Besides the new logo, how else are you developing the brand?
Erika Truscott: Our new website will introduce a few elements that build on the design approach Nathaniel discussed.
I’ve been working on illustrations to capture various aspects of our products. Illustration is all about conveying complex concepts and relating information faster than text. For example, I made an image to illustrate the matching engine. This shows how two people in different parts of the world can come together on our platform to swap tokens. The image relays this concept in an immediate, memorable form.
Illustrations like this aren’t just decoration — they also improve usability, making the user’s experience more meaningful and positive. Coming up with illustrations to appear on publicity materials and in parts of the UI is somewhat similar to finding appropriate icons.
Nathaniel Walpole: We’re also moving away from isometric art. This is seriously overused by blockchain companies. It can be too “techy” and schematic, creating a rigid feel at odds with our fundamental concept of motion. It’s also just not flexible enough. It’s harder to create than more fluid, dynamic artwork, but is pretty restrictive in terms of where it can be deployed. So we’re changing those aspects of our iconography and illustrations.
Erika Truscott: Yes, organic shapes are replacing the isometric blocks we used to have. These shapes are something of a trend right now. We don’t want to jump on any bandwagons, but it’s very important to be aware of these trends so the brand doesn’t appear outdated. We’ve tried to keep a “classic” style to avoid aging — but nothing too vanilla either, since our brand needs uniqueness and personality.
The shapes we chose connect to our ideal user experience. We’re using wavy lines, which have an association with liquid. These have a calming effect and represent a feeling of natural rhythm. They help the user reach a mental state of being “in the zone” — of not feeling strained, but instead being engaged, invigorated and focussed. That’s the kind of user experience we’re aiming for, and these subtle, subliminal visual cues invoke appropriate feelings when a user interacts with our tools.
Nathaniel Walpole: This isn’t form before function — it’s the exact opposite. There’s a single governing idea behind all our designs, and it also connects to the functional part of the user’s experience. We’ve developed our brand aesthetics in a holistic way to connect people with the feel of using our products.
As a result of our renaming, we’ll be transitioning our social media accounts, publicity materials and Community forum this week. There’s no need for you to do anything! Twitter users will see that they are following our Nash handle. The NEX token will retain its ticker, representing the name Nash Exchange. Your tokens are safe and will not move. You may notice our name and logo change in existing materials.
The renaming process will be complete by 30 January.
Stay tuned for the launch of our updated website, where you can see our new brand materials, learn more about our products and set up an account before of our exchange goes live.