For the last two months, Sam, Unit and myself have been in discussion with a number of leading design agencies to explore commissioning a new visual identity for the DAO. After initial consultations with a number of studios, we have selected an agency called Other Means as the best candidate to carry out this work, for reasons that will be laid out later in this proposal.
At present, our brand identity is weak when compared with other projects in the space. The proposal offered by Other Means constitutes a comprehensive rebranding of Fingerprints. In order to realize our ambition of being the leading art DAO, Fingerprints needs to be branded like the leading art DAO. A full rebranding of our visual identity and language by a leading design studio will deliver this, building brand recognition and value; building customer loyalty through a sense of shared values with key stakeholders; differentiating Fingerprints from other projects in the space; and cementing our position as leading tastemakers in the space. These are all essential to realizing our strategic aim of being recognized as a key voice in the process of canon-building in blockchain art.
What needs to be done?
In our early discussions about what Fingerprints most urgently needed from a rebranding exercise, we compiled a wish-list of key deliverables that would be necessary to developing a unique and consistent visual identity. These were:
- A new, high-end website
- A new logo / logotype
- Physical branding (e.g merchandise, posters for future events)
- A brand book (inc. brand guidelines, custom typefaces, color scheme, etc)
- ‘Dos and don’ts’
- Ongoing brand development, to ensure our visual identity and brand grow naturally and organically over time — beyond the present cultural moment.
- A brand positioning statement, including consultancy on brand ‘voice’ / tone to be used in verbal communications
Since making this list, we learned that the DAO had commissioned Renato, a branding consultant, to create a positioning and communications plan for the DAO, creating some overlap with the above list. To combat this redundancy, we have removed 7) from the wish-list, and asked the design studio to use the outputs from Renato’s exercises as a basis for conducting 1) - 6).
Who will do it?
This work will be carried out by Other Means, a US-based graphic design studio with high-profile clients in the cultural sector. After a long research process where we had conversations with a number of major design studios, and narrowed it down to two options, Other Means finally emerged as the best-placed candidate to carry out this work. A number of factors, both practical and creative, were key to choosing Other Means, including:
- Their outstanding portfolio
- Their proven experience in the cultural sector
- Their specialization in web-based design
- Their comparatively strong understanding of the crypto space
- Their willingness to accept payment in USDC
Where will the effort happen?
The majority of the work will be carried out privately by Other Means. During this process however, there will be regular, ongoing communication via e-mail and video calls between Other Means and Sam, Unit and myself. This communication will be key to providing feedback and ensuring that the work being carried out by Other Means fits the identity and aims of the DAO, as understood by those inside it. We will provide regular updates on these conversations, and opportunities for members to give feedback, in the #marketing-pr channel in Discord.
When will it happen?
The timeline for the Other Means proposal is split into 5 phases:
- Discovery (2-4 weeks)
- Strategy (2-4 weeks)
- Concept design (4-6 weeks)
- Design development (12 weeks)
- Guidelines (4 weeks)
The first phase of this work, the ‘discovery’ phase, will begin upon approval of this proposal and transfer of the first payment installment.
Why is this a good idea?
The current strategic plan states: ‘Fingerprints… has an opportunity to be the main driver of consensus formation in the Fine Art NFT segment, generating value to collectors and helping to develop the space.’ In order to realize this ambition of becoming leading tastemakers in the space, Fingerprints needs to be branded in a way that reflects this ambition.
At present, our branding and visual identity do not match the quality of our collection and curatorial thesis. This is counterproductive to our ambitions and strategic plan. Branding can change how people perceive Fingerprints — it can drive new business and increase brand value — but it can also do the opposite if done incorrectly. Appearances matter, and the importance from a business strategy perspective of having a strong brand and visual identity are self-evident. Nonetheless, I have tried to list these benefits more concretely in S3.
How will this be organized?
As stated above, this rebranding is organized into five phases. A full outline of this proposal can be found via the project proposal Notion link included in S1. During and between each of these five phases, there will be opportunities for feedback, discussion and direction. Sam, Unit and myself will be the first point of contact between Other Means and the DAO, and the conduit for relaying this information, as well as for ensuring deadlines are met, and that work is done properly.
How much will this cost?
The total cost of this work, as quoted in the proposal, is $80k - $95k, depending on whether we opt for a more robust, comprehensive web design. The actual cost however, will likely be around $15k more, since the current proposal assumes that technical web development work would be handled in-house. This solution would be preferable, to the extent that it allocates capital towards long term resources rather than contractors. However, it is not given that we have those resources readily available in-house.
The difference between the two web design options is laid out more thoroughly in the proposal linked above. Given the importance of this exercise, and Fingerprints’ position as a web-native organization, we feel that a more robust website offers better value as a long-term investment. The DAO’s key strength is its collection and the prestige of the artists that it collects. Having a robust, high-end site to manage and display this collection, as well as to highlight the artists we work with, is thus of utmost importance.
In particular, while not necessarily key to targeting those in the crypto space who are already familiar with Fingerprints, the website will be of paramount importance for interfacing with the traditional art/culture world and other similar entities outside the NFT space, a stated key part of our strategic plan.
Other Means are willing to accept payment in USDC. 30% of the total project estimate due upon approval of the contract. An additional 30% due upon completion of Phase 3. Remainder due upon completion of Phase 4.
This estimate does not include fees for licensing software (content management systems, third party integrations, plug-ins, etc.), fonts, hosting, or domain registration. Ongoing website and server maintenance will be Fingerprints DAO’s responsibility.
Returns to the DAO
Obviously, there is no direct and immediate financial benefit to the DAO from a rebranding. Rather, this is a long-term investment in the overall brand, and therefore business value.
The result of the branding process is the brand, which incorporates the reputation and value that comes with it. A strong reputation means a strong brand which, in turn, translates into value. That value can:
- Enhance our reputation as taste-makers and canon-builders, and thus our standing in the discussion around what is valuable in blockchain art
- Make tier 1 artists and other key shareholders more likely to want to work with us, due to brand association and reputation, thus increasing returns from future projects
- Make the DAO a more appealing investment opportunity because of its firmly established place and reputation in the marketplace
- Increase the value of our collection through association with a strong, recognized brand
All of this should evidently create strong returns to the DAO in the long run.
S4: Closing Remarks
The proposal set out above constitutes a comprehensive rebranding of Fingerprints. In order to realize our ambition of being the leading art DAO, Fingerprints needs to be branded like the leading art DAO.
A strong brand is invaluable, because brand value is business value. While the costs set out above are very large, we believe that it is good value, and the market price for work of this caliber. By working with a world-leading design agency, we have the opportunity to make Fingerprints the strongest brand in the whole NFT art space. Doing so is integral to realizing our long-term strategic aims. Compromising on a rebranding now may mean having to do it again in the future, which we believe would do irreparable damage to the Fingerprints brand in the long run, as well as increasing costs. While a large expense, this is a one-off chance to totally overhaul our visual identity, and make Fingerprints a distinguished, iconic brand in the crypto space.