[TEMP CHECK] Aave Visual Identity

logomark

Summary

This Temp Check proposes and seeks community approval for an updated, unified and codified Aave visual identity. This new system creates a unified look that propels Aave into the future, standing out as DeFi goes mainstream. The Aave identity should not only stand out among crypto brands, but increasingly alongside blue chip financial brands. At the same time, this new visual aesthetic embraces Aave’s heritage as a reliable, resilient and innovative protocol that is accessible, transparent and community governed. The friendly ghost takes new heights.

Motivation

Today, the Aave logomark gets applied inconsistently across various Aave-supported initiatives, diluting recognition power and potentially causing confusion.

The aim of this proposal is to present a new, strong and distinctive visual identity that stands out and supports Aave ecosystem’s continued growth into new frontiers. Our idea is that the logomark should be appropriately flexible for multiple usages and across multiple platforms. As well, Aave’s visual identity should be distinctive within the broader DeFi community and financial industry.

Preserving Aave’s Brand Heritage

The Aave ghost is known and beloved within the DeFi community. Several months of research, positioning and design work – led by Avara’s design team and headed by Benji Taylor – went into developing the new proposed logomark to ensure that it retains its core elements while becoming distinctive and instantly recognizable.

This visual identity honors Aave’s legacy while streamlining and modernizing its look. The process involved collaboration across the Aave ecosystem, targeting a final design that resonates with the community and reflects the Aave DAO’s standing as an industry leader and innovator.

Proposed Changes

In the proposal, Aave’s visual identity has undergone a distinctive refresh. The logo, typeface, and brand accents have been revamped, with new variations introduced for versatility. The signature “ghost” and purple color palette remain at the heart of Aave’s identity, but with a modernized and streamlined approach.

ghost

Iconic Design

The simplified ghost logomark strikes a perfect balance: iconic and timeless for broad recognition, yet still innovative and dependable. It embodies the approachability that define the Aave community, all while elevating the visual image without sacrificing its established recognition. The new design also conveys friendliness and accessibility, hallmarks of the Aave community.

overview

Scalable Design System

This proposal introduces a scalable design system that reflects Aave’s dedication to excellence and adaptability. This system ensures that the visual identity is consistent and powerful across various use cases, reinforcing Aave’s leading position and its vibrant, wider ecosystem.

system

Potential Challenges

We do not expect this logomark refresh to resonate immediately with everyone within the Aave community. Some may not like it or feel it is necessary. It’s natural for there to be a spectrum of reactions, and we welcome discussion. But it’s crucial to remember that Aave has been through successful brand evolutions in the past, namely the transition from ETHLend to Aave, and that at the time, it was considered unsettling too. Although this was a significant change, it was accomplished successfully and today, few would question this decision.

Built for the Community

This visual identity belongs to the entire Aave Community. Subject to community approval, the proposed visual identity would be irrevocably licensed to the Aave DAO. The idea is to provide a global, perpetual, irrevocable and royalty-free license to the community with the broad rights to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, and communicate the visual identity for the benefit of the Aave protocol, the Aave ecosystem, the Aave DAO, and related activities. The use of the visual identity will be strictly prohibited for malicious activities, including but not limited to phishing scams and impersonation. For the avoidance of doubt, this identity will be separate from that of Aave Labs, which will have its own distinct identity.

We encourage the community to embrace it to ensure a consistent look and feel across all Aave tools and projects.

community

Conclusion

An identity of an ecosystem signifies more than its visual outlook; it’s a strategic component that should align with Aave’s industry leadership, maturity, and celebrate its continued growth. We look forward to community discussion and feedback and are hopeful that this visual identity update will be welcomed and broadly supported by the community.

sparkle

Specification

Next Steps

This Temp Check is closely tied to the Aave 2030 Vision grant proposal and its purpose is to collect community feedback on the Aave Visual Identity. If the Aave 2030 proposal is approved, the new Aave visual identity can be used across the community.

Copyright

The text of this TEMP-CHECK is released under the CC0 license. The visuals and the New Visual identity are subject to and governed by the license specified in the approved governance proposal by the DAO (to be included in the ARFC at a later date).

12 Likes

Hello @AaveLabs,

thank you for sharing this proposal with the DAO. The new visuals look really appealing to me.
It feels like this is a major step and it matures the Aave brand in a minimalistic but great way.

Colors, fonts, sounds (from the video) are giving me some fresh financial vibes. It somehow reminds me of Revolut, so I would say the direction is pretty good. Most importantly it feels like a new identity the mass can understand. Currently most visuals don’t look like serious business, also their brand names don’t tell you this is a financial product. So I do welcome this change, as it could be the beginning to mass adoption.

I also like to see how all visuals have been designed like they are recycable and can be changed little but you can still clear see the design language behind it.

Additionally this quote is very important in my opinion. There needs to be a clear separation between the DAO, the protocol itself and others building on top of Aave. This way the brand won’t get diluted in the future. This is the crucial part, to really have visuals for each area. Im not sure how to track this and make sure all are following, but I am sure the DAO will find ways to keep this vision.

4 Likes

Visually and artistically i love the new look! The colors are calm and pleasing to the eyes, the illustrations are charming and friendly, the logo as well.
Two minor dislikes are the previous “a” letter shape is better than the new one in my opinion, and the logos are cute, but i feel like they are not easily distinguishable (star eyes, heart eyes and so on) and i dont understand why hearts are associated with events and stars with community. Perhaps im thinking too much, but i like logos that helps you guess what’s the content even before reading the title. Neither are major, a change is fine.
Anyway, hats off to Benji and the team. The video is top notch.

On the business side i think now is good time for a refresh, and it’s easier to approve since i like the arts and colors. I presume that a market research was done and these visuals received positive reactions from non-dao people as well? After all part of the rebrand is to attract more people who aren’t already involved

1 Like

In my opinion, a unified logo is enough. No one will remember the various emoticons. Moreover, we are not building a social software. Let’s wait until there are 1 billion people using it before we think about it.

1 Like

Thank you for your comments @EzR3aL

Subject to the 2030 proposal being approved by the DAO, we will coordinate with the community to put together a clear set of visual brand guidelines, aimed at supporting the diverse needs of various community contributors.

1 Like

Will try to structure my feedback from different angles:


Common visual identity for the Aave DAO

Agree with this (partially). The Aave DAO is a decentralised entity by itself, so it just makes sense for it to have some type of visual “anchor”, for example for partners to produce design material mentioning Aave, this forum itself, or for service providers to make references to their customer, the DAO.


I say partially, because of this

The Aave DAO is supposed to be fully decentralised, as that doesn’t only mean that its smart contracts are controlled by an on-chain governance. It also means that each contributor must have its own identity, and recognition-power/avoidance of confusion should come from:

  • Properly refer to the Aave DAO in public communications.

  • Try to give visibility of all projects belonging/contributed to the DAO and attributing to it to the DAO itself.

  • Educate people about the difference between the Aave DAO and its contributors.

  • Create its own storylines/design for Aave regarding each contribution. E.g. on BGD we have put quite big effort to always have major projects with a visual identity, and trying to be consistent on them. GHO is another example of a project with an own visual identity.


Design guidelines for the DAO owned/contributed projects are positive and probably required, but my point is that it is far from enough, and most probably not even the most important aspect.


Meta about this proposal

On this I simply need to be critic.

From my side and BGD Labs, we have not participate at all in any stage of this proposal, and I’m curious on who exactly of other long-term participants had a role on it.

I think it is perfectly legitimate for the proposal to come internally from Aave Labs (definitely imo a sole entity should lead the effort, and Aave Labs is a good candidate), appreciate the initiative and most probably in one way or another should go forward. However, it is very difficult to understand Several months of research without even contacting for some type of early feedback to what it is, basically, the community.


Design feedback

Mind this is very subjective, but I believe it gives value to give as honest feedback as possible, given that the Aave DAO future identity is on the line:

  • Generally, for me the design lack character. Aave is stability within DeFi, but also edge technology, and this design conveys more like boring Fintech-stylish.
    In comparison, I find way more attractive the almost “childish” old ghost, or even the more “aggressive” GHO line (I’m specially fan of the GHO’s sharpy “G”).
    Aave created its brand on the equilibrium of disruption and security.

  • Illustrations (I guess they are not final though), feel very generic, similar as I commented before, without much character.

  • From my non-expert point of view, ghost + dim purple colour can precisely create confusion with products in the market like Phantom.

  • I would say that makes sense to separate more colour-wise GHO from Aave DAO in general.


5 Likes

I want to present my opinion as a former grant recipient(developer of various analytic projects for aave), former contractor at aave companies, and current employee of bgdlabs.

Motivation: The aim of this proposal is to present a new, strong and distinctive visual identity that stands out and supports Aave ecosystem’s continued growth into new frontiers. Our idea is that the logomark should be appropriately flexible for multiple usages and across multiple platforms. As well, Aave’s visual identity should be distinctive within the broader DeFi community and financial industry.

For me this motivation lacks a bit of substance. Yes, currently there are different visual identities - as there should for a decentralized entity.

From personal experience small “utility projects”, are very unlikely to follow a visual identity. Simply because it’s not worth it - effort wise. In a few weekends project i would argue most devs are more focused on functionality then branding/aesthetics.

For bigger projects, teams have an incentive to separate their brand for unique brand recognition as can be seen by the work of bgdlabs, aavechan, chaos-labs and others in the past.


For a matter of fact my subjective opinion on the visual identity is that it’s minimalistic, playful and pretty. I look forward to it being embraced as the “visual identity” of avara labs. Best case licensed MIT, so anyone can do whatever they want with it.

2 Likes

Commenting on my own and not representing anyone specifically.
I am pretty surprised by some of these comments from people that have been in crypto for a long time now and have great understanding of the space. Without going into the specific of the identity as that is highly subjective and as expected, some like it (the vast majority, to be honest) and other don’t, that’s pretty normal.
Not recognizing that the DAO needs to have a clear and recognizable identity and expecting that official, DAO funded service providers should build tools that look completely different from each other just because “it’s decentralized” sounds, respectfully, quite naive and probably the fastest way to lose users and the general trust of the wider public. In the real world customers hiring consultants for any kind of public-facing work (can be advertisement, websites, marketing, events, anything) for sure don’t let the consultants decide on whatever style they want to use for the specific work, consultants need to adhere to the strict design rules dictated by the customer because it’s quite simply the strongest way to user acquisition and retention. The fact that the customer in this case is a DAO in my opinion changes nothing, it actually makes this need even stronger especially in a space like crypto dominated by phishing and scams. Crypto users get scared when the font size changes on a web3 frontend, imagine asking them to use tools that are completely different from each other.
This is of course not the case for independent, grant-funded and smaller side projects like @sakulstra mentioned, although with free to use assets and clear guidelines defined by the DAO hopefully builders would feel more willing to adopt it as well. I can mention at least 10 different crypto projects that ended up in the oblivion and that i have personally avoided using because of lack of consistency and difficulties navigating their tooling, sure as hell i dont want Aave to suffer the same fate.

4 Likes

As some have commented with respect to the distinctiveness of the new branding, here’s what reverse image search shows up when searching this newly proposed logo:
image

Does this strike the community as a recognizable visual identity?

2 Likes

Hello,

I delayed my answer on this one, allowing this new visual identity to have a chance to “grow on me” over time.
A brand can be highly subjective and there’s no perfect recipe for a good one.

But after a couple of weeks now, my first impressions matches my current feelings: It simply doesn’t resonate with me.

I’ll try to explain:

  1. It’s bland.

There’s nothing much distinctive about this new design, and it’s a very “VC-Funded Web2 starter brand kit” Vibes. I’m ready to bet we can show this branding to a normie and tell that person it’s a new iOS app for seamless car insurance app and the person will believe it 100%.

  1. It’s not DeFi.

Hide the name; ask 100 people on the street of any city center, and exactly zero of them will tell you it’s a brand about Decentralized Finance, Blockchain, or finance in general.

  1. It’s not us.

Aave has one of the strongest brands in our ecosystem. Absolutely everyone loves it and fights for our legendary swag. Ask 100 people at the ETHCC what the name of the Aave Ghost is. More than half will answer “Ronnie.” That’s the sign of a powerful brand.
Trying to kill Ronnie for this NPC ghost and whatever is this fucking dog doing here is not appreciated.

  1. It’s not the DAO.

A DAO is a sum of voices; they are all different and unique, and they all add value in their own way. Service providers have the right to have their own identity and recognition for their work.
It’s not a zero-sum game, and trying to erase our identities into this bland branding is what I would refer to as Brand colonialism.

The ACI does not support this “Visual Identity”, will not comply with it, and will keep its own style & identity.

Thanks, but no thanks.

4 Likes

The last two comments from @MarcZeller and @midapple are showing that my “its giving me Revolut” vibes were not wrong.

Especially the Irys tweet is a bummer.

Regarding the SP I do think everyone should have its own brand.
We have SP like Chaos or TokenLogic that are individual companies and brands that are or may also be working for other protocols the DAO is fine with when they do so.
Forcing them to apply a brand by the AAVE DAO simply doesn’t make sense.

So what to do now?
While I do agree that this new visual could be better and more interesting for retail user, not knowing what Aave is and basically using it like a Neobank, we also have to admit that Marc is right here.

Changing the visual will probably lead to the point where current Aave user or ecosystem partner are asking themselves “Wait, is this the correct URL im using? The frontend looks different”.
(I had this feeling when Kraken changed their frontend completely and I am always switchting to the legacy version as long as its possible.)

The Aave ghost is everywhere, on the aave.com frontend in a minimalistic style
image

On the website of gho.xyz
image

What I would like to see is either having a legacy frontend in its current form + a new one for “the mass of retail” or Ronnie the ghost stronger implemented in its current form into the visuals.

Aave is a strong brand in its current form, “killing” it with a new visual may lead to bad consequences.
To sum my previous comment and this one up:

  • I still like the design, but form a perspective that this is a new protocol and no one ever heard about Aave before
  • Changing the ghost that drastically may “kill” all the reputation build up from v1
  • The DAO, including every participant should have its own visual
  • SP working for the DAO should have their own visual as they are indepedent companies simply serving the DAO
4 Likes

Again commenting on my behalf and not representing anyone specifically.
I think there is a “slight” misunderstanding on what this proposal aims to achieve. In no way shape or form it’s mentioned that the proposal aims at replacing service providers identities. I wont even comment on the alleged “brand colonialism”, i dont even know what that means, must be a french thing to always turn discussions over to colonialism or dominance. Service providers are independent entities contributing on a variety of different tasks and they should of course have their own brand and identification, and rightfully so - they are factually consultants to a customer (the DAO) and consultants are not the customer. At the same time, consultants in the real world would never force their own style and identity on the customer, or the customer would immediately fire them (and rightfully so).
The proposal only aims at introducing assets for the DAO with the goal of uniforming the style of the DAO owned, user facing tools developed by the service providers so that users dont feel confused or lost. Here ACI offers the perfect example of what i mean:

image

This screenshot is taken from the main merit claim page. Personal, subjective opinions follow:

  1. I dont see anywhere a mention of Aave. Not even talking about the logo or the ghost, i literally cant see the word Aave anywhere.

  2. Doesnt look even remotely close to any of the tools built around Aave

  3. It is, quite frankly, mediocre looking to say the least.

Tools like this, which are crucial (as the DAO is spending a lot of money to fund merit) in my opinion cannot and should never be built this way. If this was built for another defi project, i would literally never even connect my wallet to it. I have personally seen many tweets of users signaling of being scared to interact with this page.
Here is an example of, again in my opinion, a much better job:

image

This is the main GSM frontend built by TokenLogic. There is the Aave Logo, there is the Tokenlogic logo, which of course maintains its own identity, and the style is much more familiar to a user accustomed to the Aave frontend or for example the bgd governance page. This is what i personally imagine the path to use the new identity should be; Common, Aave recalling visuals and components, with touch of customizations to give each service provider the ability to give their own spin.
I think it’s great that the proposal does not define rules on how to use the identity. In my opinion should not be one service provider deciding how to define the usage of an identity but all the DAO participants. Again, the proposal only defines the assets and the modular design architecture.
I really hope this clarifies what the goal of this proposal is. I would be quite surprised if anyone who is serious about reaffirming Aave as the leader in the defi space think that having subpar visual quality, inconsistent looking tools is the best way to success.
Again, I wont comment on the opinions regarding the identity itself.
Just find curious the

It’s not DeFi.

I am not even sure what this means. Here’s a collection of logos from various defi and blockchain related projects and protocols, i challenge anyone to perform the same test, walk through a mall stopping random people and ask if they recognize any of these as “defi” or blockchain related

image
image
image
image
image

4 Likes

This helps me a lot better to understand.
I do agree that the difference between the Merit and GSM screenshot is significant and shows the connection between Aave and its SP.

Also what I think @MarcZeller wanted to say is that currently with the Aave ghost you could ask anybody on X whats the protocol behind it and they would say its Aave. With the proposed logo this recognition value would be gone.
Of course If you would ask anybody on the street, they wouldn’t recognize either logos nor the ones you posted here. We are way too far away from reaching this goal.

Thats why I said, we either need to have a legacy frontend for the “OG” user, a new frontend for normal people who just created their wallet (new logo) or a mix between both to not loose recognition from the current user but also look appealing to new ones, to onboard masses of user.

Best case imho would be to have a mix. Refresh Ronnie, don’t loose recognition build up over the years through rAave and other events but make him a bit more modern so that a normal user/first time user would think “Oh this looks like Revolut, N24” or any other Neo-Banking/financial app.

Does this make sense?

2 Likes

What could be done is a simple display, and another with more graphic elements, optional for the user like the black and white dashboard. Going for 2 logos is a mistake, generates confusion.

I really like the purple wave in aave.com, strong and beautiful colours, is almost hypnotazing. I suggest implementing something along this lines graphically. Maybe even implement an updated ver of this wave inside the dashboard with the option to disable it in “simple display”.

I like the AAVE logo that is on top of the forums, in my opinion is superior to this proposal because it has the token logo typography inside the AAVE logo, the A is the same, it has nice strong colours, is not outdated at all. Removing this relation with the token would be a mistake in my opinion.

I also like the GHO logo, a ghost upside down formed with the G, in this case the simplistic and creative approach worked, kinda offtopic but I wanted to mention it.

1 Like

Hi @AaveLabs :ghost:

Thank you for developing and sharing the new visual identity with DAO.

While I like the new aave wordmark and illustrations, I agree with the two concerns raised by some aave contributors, and I hope these concerns resolve.

  1. The new logomark is very cute, but it resembles other project’s logomark and doesn’t look it like a ghost. I recommend reconsidering the logomark design.

  2. As @EzR3aL mentioned, the brand value of Aave’s legacy visual identity is very high, and these changes could cause some confusion among users. Therefore, I recommend initially mixing the new elements with the traditional ones, perhaps starting with rAave or the unique frontend for Aave v4.

2 Likes

I Agree with @Emilio

We need to combine our unique service provider/delegate identity with a unified brand so that people understand it’s about the same product and part of the same ecosystem.

Personally, I’m very attached to Ronnie I have a bias because I’m a mascot-fan but there’s nothing I like about the new ghost and that dog.

Outside of this particular detail, I’m not a fan of the branding that I find too plain, but tbh, if the community likes it, the ACI will use it combined with our own style.

To react to ACI tools, the “mini-dapps” website are not intended to be “mainstream” facing; they’re tools designed for the DAO, service providers (stream collector), or allow to have features not yet integrated into the Avara-frontend.

As an example, we did the Merit tool but also built the yield API and worked with Avara to have it integrated into the main frontend app. Our goal is to create features, have our limited audience test them, and, if they’re mature, PR the Avara front to have them accessible to a larger audience.

4 Likes

Hi @AaveLabs

Thank you for sharing this proposal with the DAO and inviting feedback. An Aave brand revamp is an exciting prospect and in our opinion inevitable.

It is not easy to present a new brand on a public forum and ask for feedback. The creators deserve recognition and thanks for there efforts.

We broadly support a brand revamp as a good improvement and look forward to participating in the iterative process of creating the new brand identity.

Many points are raised throughout the discussion and we will comment on a few keys areas where we have an opinion.

Rebranding / Mascot

The Ghost mascot is as strong a brand advocate for Aave. It is as recognisable in DeFi as the Nike swish is amongst athletes… When ever we see it, we think Aave (not Ghost Busters). Whilst we like the continuation of the Ghost theme and the eyes darting around in the youtube clip is cool, we struggle to relate to the cartoon characters and would like to retain more of the current brand ambassador ghost character.

If we are to lean into using more of the ghost character, then the differentiator between areas of the DAO could be differentiated in a similar way to various NFTs project characters through the use of contrasting style and features. The proposed colour variation and eye shape change is not as lively and vibrant as the DAO is.

We support a revamp of the mascot and would like to see more of the Ghost character, less of the cartoons and perhaps explore other ways to distinguish different aspect of the community.

Linking Aave to the Efforts of Contributors

With respect to linking Service Providers to Aave, there are valid points on both side of this discussion. The connection between Aave and its recognised contributors (Service Providers + Delegates) should be visible on the frontend and there brand identity should be shown next to a description outlining what each contributor’s value proposition. This would showcase the diversity of the DAO whilst also linking Aave directly to the branding of that team.

A simple example, a recognised delegate page with details about the delegate, a link to delegate platform post and to any delegate UI would be welcomed. The same can be applied to Service Providers.

The general point is more can be done on the main frontend to to strengthen the links between Aave and the efforts of its contributors.

Merit, GSM and Gov v3

The Merit program should be more visible, something outlining what Merit is, where people can learn more and especially where beneficiaries can claim there rewards. The same rational can be applied to our own GSM frontend and the ability to vote via Gov v3.

How much detail to show on the main frontend, versus what can be linked to other sites, that can all be optimised in time.

However, we do think this is a two way street, Service Providers who build for Aave DAO should in some way integrate something Aave like. Keep individuality but do something to indicate the work is performed as a service to the DOA. An example would be to provide a statement detailing the service provider works for DAO which links back the page on the main site where the branding is clearly visible. This would help build trust.

Teams can choose to adopt some styling connection like colour pallet, referencing the mascot or even the Aave logo. That all helps but is difficult to enforce.

2 Likes

We thank the community for their insightful discussion around the proposed new visual identity. In order to contribute to the discussion, we would like to add some thoughts to reflect some of the initial ideas:

An Open Visual Identity

As an important clarification, the idea was not to impose a rebrand on any service providers or community contributors but rather propose a common design language that can fit seamlessly alongside any existing Service Provider’s brand identity.

As always, usage of any visual identity is entirely at the discretion of each individual contributor. The idea is that choosing to use the new visual identity would allow for each contributor to maintain the unique characteristics of their brand while enhancing trust for the end user by providing a seamless and sufficiently familiar user experience no matter where they interact with the underlying Aave Protocol.

Refreshing the Identity

For purposes of furthering the ongoing conversation, the proposed illustration style presented with the visual identity is intended to be additive and represents just one of many possible styles. Our idea was not to propose that Ronnie would be going anywhere. The proposed visual identity is not synonymous with a new illustration style; it makes the visual identity flexible for different use cases and various iterations of Ronnie the community embraces. As with many brand refreshes that have come before, updating a visual identity helps to keep it modern and current. A visual identity refresh does not erode user connection to the community but enhances it.

On additional note, there has been positive feedback from the wider DeFi community including:

Beautiful new brand and features from Aave - mariandipietra

All I can say is I can’t wait to see the new design and visual be put into the UI. Really kudos for the great creative works done by BenjiTaylor, StaniKulechov and Aave team. - aaronkow_

In love :heart_eyes: - tweetsofandre

Benji is a god among mere mortals - 0xgaut

2 Likes