Civil: a design story

tl;dr: As a personal side project I had a go at Civil’s brand (circa spring 2018). Apologies all around and caveat emptor.

A story worth telling
I’m a fan of Civil. I came across them in a Twitter ad (IKR? Who notices Twitter ads?) and was intrigued by their plan to apply the blockchain to journalism.

The jist of Civil is to use tokens to fund newsrooms and the immutable ledger to record facts. Tokens get rid of ad models (and bad actors who can’t afford to mine), and the ledger establishes “truth” in the community. It’s an ideal marriage.

But it’s also a tricky story to tell. On one side you have journalists who are just trying to grok the tech—let alone put their faith in crypto. On the other is the crypto community who are in such demand they can easily overlook what Civil offers. Where do you point the story? What do you emphasize? And, for me at least, how can design help?

© Civil Media Company

I was thinking about this as I studied Civil and the familiar communication issues they face at this early stage. Like all startups, their story and visual choices could be smoothed out and made more consistent. But their immediate challenge consists of:

• establishing character
• building trust
• paying homage to their roots

I think Civil can simplify and humanize their story and, in the process, establish a tone that is reassuring to the writers and engineers they need to build their community.

And, since I was rooting around for a design side project, I decided to make this challenge my challenge.

I started with their name.

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