Story In Progress
About the Project
Ed approached me about a new project to create a community that would invite people to wrestle with their dreams and wants, ultimately make clear choices and then move forward courageously in the direction they choose. He wanted a platform that would allow him to share his experiences, including his recent cross-country motorcycle trip, as well as the things he is still learning. He also wanted other people to be able to submit and share their stories through podcasts and other media.
Brand Strategy Session
Goal: We decided the primary goal would be to create a vibrant, interactive community using a variety of platforms including podcasts, articles, books, webinars, online chats, coaching opportunities, blogs, social media, video, and workshops. While the hope is to grow and sustain a large and committed audience, the conversations should still feel intimate.
Audience: It was more difficult to land on an ideal audience, since the idea is to bring together a wide variety of people. We finally settled on the following description: Adult men and women of all ages, looking to be part of an open, honest and vulnerable conversation. They may be frustrated that they are in jobs they do not love, relationships that aren’t working, lacking the time to pursue their hobbies or interests or may just be so busy that they do not even realize they are frustrated. They need to know it is okay to go after (or even to not go after) their dreams. Membership to the community will remain free.
Brand Name: Since Ed didn't have a name for his community before starting the project, we also brainstormed different ideas, tested various phrases for SEO effectiveness, and discussed the marketing value of using a descriptive domain rather than a simple dot-com. Some concepts we tossed around were:
journeys with ed
your next journey
living out loud
The final name choice was Journey Talk. Though it didn't have the best SEO score, we (and those we surveyed) were really drawn to the phrase, and the SEO disadvantage can be overcome through smart content marketing strategies. We also added more clarity to the name by combining it with a dot-community domain.
The Translator archetype can be described as the messenger of meaning. Motivated by a fascination with how people create meaningful lives for themselves through communication and language, the Translator taps into meanings that are universal to the human race. The Translator may have a highly developed need for fairness and integrity. High intellect, cognitive discernment and a strong intuitive capacity are attributes of this archetype.
Strengths: Skill as an intuitive communicator. Ability to make unexpected connections to reveal meaning. Gift of inference, seeing patterns, tracking symbols. Proficiency at interpreting and mediating.
Challenges: The ego's interference with real meaning. Temptation to force meaning before it's time. Lack of accountability.
Brand Archetype: The Translator
Since what the Journey Talk community could be is rather open-ended, there were several initial concepts that I wanted to explore. The first was a road reaching the horizon to represent a journey. Ed shared a large collection of photos from his cross-country trip which included many road images. However, the road graphic felt predictable and the insinuation that the journey would be smooth and straight didn't feel accurate. The road would be relegated to a minor aspect of the brand.
Another concept was that of a coffee cup. During our discussions, Ed mentioned several times that he wanted the atmosphere of the community to feel like a conversation in a coffee shop. The travel mug added a community aspect, rather than a ceramic mug like you would use to have coffee in your home alone.
A couple ideas formed out of the coffee cup concept. The first was to highlight the side and bottom of the cup to represent a J and the top to represent a T. This felt unclear, though, and the rigid sides of the cup didn't match the fluid movement of the many journeys to be celebrated in the community. Final font selection resolved the rigidity aspect of the design. However, coffee shop conversations are only a part of the community, so that concept wasn't right for the primary logo.
Another concept came from a Zoom call with Ed and several others interested in taking part in the community. Questions of "What's your North Star? What drives you/gets you where you want to go?" was a particularly interesting topic, and evoked powerful visual as well. Beginning with the entire section of night sky surrounding the North Star (as seen in Northeast US where Ed is located), this concept slowly became more and more simplified until only the North Star at the bottom of the handle of the Little Dipper is seen above the Journey Talk word mark.
Color Palette and Font Selection
The heading font is Stockport Brush. Meant to be used deliberately, Stockport Brush is a handwritten script font with a ton of movement. The paragraph font, Montserrat light, is part of a geometric sans-serif typeface. This typeface has round, open letters that invite you to keep reading.
Color palette is warm and rich, filled with colors that one might find in nature as they travel on their journey.
Stockport Brush (heading font)
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Montserrat Light (paragraph font)
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Final Logo Set
The primary logo draws you into your journey within the community, led by the North Star at the bottom of the handle of the Little Dipper. This is the logo that will be used on all visuals that aren't on the website, such as Podcast thumbnails on the iTunes store, videos on YouTube, Pinterest posts, etc. The alternate logo features a coffee cup, and this logo would be used to highlight the "coffee hour" style talks and videos that are signature to the community. A sub note may also be included to give more information (as seen in the mockups below) and is designated by a ∧ symbol, which represents the shape of a road disappearing into the horizon. For example, the Podcast would be represented with a ∧ symbol followed by "with Ed Stern."
Content Strategy Session
Another phone call was needed to organize the different types of content that would make up the website:
Stories: this would be a curated blog of submissions from members of the community and would be open to comments. This section is quiet, as an introduction to the community or for folks who only have a small moment; a mom resting while baby naps, or a business person on their lunch break. Stories can be shared on Pinterest, and possibly video posts on YouTube.
Coffee: this section includes live video calls, and recordings of past conversations, to be hosted on YouTube. Ed also plans to expand to in-person meetings as well, perhaps at actual coffee shops.
Podcast: interviews hosted by Ed - the Stories section would be an ideal source for interviewee's. Podcast will ideally be in the iTunes store.
Ed's world: this would be a section for Ed to write and post videos, as he will be an integral part of the community.
Shop: a place for folks to order Journey Talk and Coffee Hour t-shirts, hats, mugs, etc.
In the process of working on the site, we decided it would be best to combine Ed's posts and videos with submitted stories, since he is a "Journey Talker" and part of the community. We also finalized the menu section: Meet Us, Read, Listen, Share, Talk, Your Journey, Shop, Contact. Since there are several "paths" a visitor could take on the site, we incorporated a graphic on the home page, with supporting text, that would function as a guide. The traveling icons move at different speeds to represent how involved in the community the visitor will be with each section, and how much they'll interact with other "Journey Talkers."
Journey Talk Shop
Since the membership would be free, we decided that a small shop would be a good way to bring in a little income for Ed, and the products would promote the community. To start, available items will include a coffee mug, hat and journal.
View the Final Site