When I joined Circle as a product designer, I was hired, in part, for my background in illustration. But that “nice to have” soon became my central focus. I’ve spent years defining and evolving the Circle illustrative brand, cementing its place in our products, website, marketing campaigns, and more.
How to Draw a Startup is a new personal project of mine, a podcast miniseries about the evolving role of illustration in the tech industry. I spoke with over a dozen illustrators, designers, art directors, educators, and more to understand why illustration is used, how illustrated brands are crafted, and where illustrators fit in creative teams.
With the limitations of a small design team, early versions of Circle Pay primarily relied upon off-the-shelf icon sets. But after I joined and began creating illustrations for product and brand, I soon set my sights on icons. I made a few as needed, but replacing the old set entirely wasn't worth the design and development commitment. But with Circle Invest, I was there from the beginning.
As a financial tech startup, Circle’s apps have always needed to represent currency. Circle Pay got its start as a Bitcoin wallet, and within a couple years added US Dollars, British Pounds, and Euros. Custom icons were made for these four currencies, showing up throughout the app and its marketing.
But Circle Invest called for even more. The app offers _thirteen_ different crypto assets. Presenting these disparate crypto projects in a coherent and consistent way would advance Invest's mission to make crypto more approachable. I set out to create a unified set of crypto icons. Easier said than done…
In 2015, Fresh Tilled Soil celebrated its tenth anniversary. To set the course for the next ten years, I proposed that we revisit the company’s branding and identity. With most of our energy focused on clients, our own marketing collateral and website updates were squeezed into the margins, and the identity lacked a cohesive visual system. Leadership agreed, and soon Fresh Tilled Soil itself became my sole client.
For more than 80 years, Titleist has made “the #1 ball in golf.” The storied company came to Fresh Tilled Soil with a website that had grown too cumbersome; it was inflexible, mobile unfriendly, and in need of a visual and UX overhaul. Our team set out to craft a modern, fully responsive site that captured the brand’s timeless classicism. I worked alongside some of Fresh Tilled Soil's most senior creative talent, and contributed to the project's visual design, conceptual development, wireframing, prototyping, icon design, and more.
In one of my favorite projects of 2015, I tackled a logo for an up and coming kids brand—and I mean "kids brand" literally; it's made by an 8 year old. Cole Benoit makes and illustrates awesome handmade paper puppets. I helped give his company, Papar Pupit Pepol, some professional polish.