MINE.ART

Designing a fluid visual identity for a blockchain-enabled art marketplace

Brand System / Logo Design / Fluid Identity

We were approached by Mine.Art to create a visual identity for their blockchain-enabled fine art marketplace. Mine.Art uses blockchain to trace the provenance of digital art pieces, creating a definitive record of transactions from buyer to buyer. Digital fine art pieces can take the form of image files, videos, interactive installations, and even code.

 

As blockchain technology depends on distinct hashes which are created for each transaction, we envisioned a logo with visual elements that could vary dynamically, mirroring the concept of cryptographic hashes. In practice, this could take the form of a website header that could either vary randomly or vary based on an input, such as a user’s IP address. The challenge lay in designing a logo that could change generatively while still maintaining a cohesive and consistent look, and one that was fit for the fine art world.

 
 
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Visually, we wanted an identity that combined the imagery of traditional fine art with digital motifs. We took inspiration from pixel grids and circuit boards, as well as artists like Mondrian and Japanese artist ‘hanko’ signatures. Another idea was that the logomark itself – if it included a visually encoded hash – could also potentially work as a seal certifying each work of digital art. We also liked the idea that by allowing the logo to vary randomly, each version could be different – a unique work of art in itself.

The logo that took shape was composed of a bold grid of pixels with interstitial pixels placed randomly to generate evocative forms. We wrote a variety of sketches in Processing with different generative parameters, to give some control to the density of shapes. A spread of random grids is shown below, of thousands that were generated.

 
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The simple pixel grid can generate simple shapes and patterns, evoking a wide-range of artistic styles, such as Greek or Aztec indigenous patterns, cave paintings, early video-game pixel art, and digital motifs such as circuit boards and QR codes.

While we were happy with the look of the logo at this stage, it needed to be recognizable as part of a larger brand. We decided to add a persistent red block M in the bottom corner, to serve as an anchor for the shifting look of the logo. We then chose, of the generated variations, a ‘master’ logo to use in print and on collateral (such as business cards), while in digital use the logo could be allowed to vary randomly.  The master logo and variations are shown below.

 
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