The Artificial Intelligence team is focused on building and selling customizable chatbots in order to boost our group’s machine learning capabilities.
I was asked to update their personal branding for all client and customer facing communications, including their logo, monthly newsletter, and a weekly update summary to be delivered to C-suite executives.
The leadership of the AI group requested something fresh and unexpected from a large bank. They often meet and partner with small, agile startup companies in the AI space, and felt it was prudent to distance themselves from the larger Wells Fargo brand.
The main story that I evoked with my overall treatment of their designs was one of rebirth for the bank - the AI group isn’t tied down by the established and outdated structures of a large organization, and will demonstrate new business paradigms through their product design. However, I didn’t want to take this confident approach so far that it became aggressive, so I took steps to make sure that their overall imagery was inviting and intriguing. Using a lot of negative space, a soft blue color pallet, and focusing on function over form allowed their branding to position itself as both forward-thinking and dependable.
The AI group isn’t tied down by the established and outdated structures of a large organization
I went with blues because of the ever-changing nature of their technology and products. Lighter blues flow as a stream of water, but darker shades sturdy and foundational like the ocean. The particular shade of darker blue present throughout the designs was chosen because it speaks to established success and dependability of their product design approach, while the lighter shades speaks to their intrigue and the embrace of modern technology by saying, “click me, I am interesting.”
These were my first pass at creating a logo and a layout for their monthly newsletter, without having extended conversations with the client.
First draft of logo mark
I wanted to bring something to our first meeting that they could react to in order to gain a better idea of what they were after.
While I expected these designs to be scrapped, some of the elements were kept in the final versions.
First draft of newsletter template design
The most timely need from the group was to update a deck shares weekly updates on project status with our C-Suite executives. Their old deck was overly busy and had difficulty focusing the viewer’s attention.
I wanted clarity. The audience has very little time and needs to be able to make important decisions quickly, so my new design aimed to give them:
- At-a-glance updates. By scanning across the top of each project page and then down the far right side, a viewer can see all actionable information.
- A focus on failures rather than successes. If something is going wrong, it should be immediately addressed rather than waiting until it is too late. Missed dates and milestones are highlighted in red to jump out from the neutral blue layout.
- I created project status icons to allow executives to get an overall sense of each project’s general state. The audience can scan them to get a visual cue on the ratio of success to failure.
Finalized executive summary project overview example page
As with the Executive Summary deck, I wanted the newsletter to be clear and concise so that the readers could take a quick look at the updates and then get along with their days.
I had a lot more freedom in structuring this layout than I did in the deck prior, and I wanted to add some fresh visual intrigue by:
- Using a lot of negative space to focus the viewer on the information that they came for.
- Creating iconography (detailed later) to build a visual language in order to anchor the audience to ideas and concepts put forth by the group.
These newsletters were written in HTML and are sent out through an internal distribution network to thousands of team members on a monthly basis.
After the prior two deliverables were favorably received by the AI group’s management, we decided to build further group identity branding with a logo.
Finalized logo marks with text on light and dark background treatments
This finalized logo has many representative elements that tell the story of the AI group’s work:
AI Group logo mark
- The Brain: Putting the “intelligence” into artificial intelligence, the primary shape conveys that there is reason behind every decision. No details are left to chance and every angle is considered. Their machines think for themselves, but are modeled after the people who built them.
- The Network: Enabling others all across our networks to leverage A.I. for their own purposes, thereby expanding and promoting innovation internally.
- The Mindmap: The sizing of the circles alludes to the nodes of the brainstorming process: starting with major ideas and working outwards, building associations to connect these ideas, and filling in the blanks until the tiny details complete the picture.
From left to right: Big data analytics, Custom Chatbots, Machine learning
The AI group leadership also requested a small family of custom-illustrated icons in order to communicate their projects in a visual manner. These icons are currently be used in all forms of outward communication from the group.