For the post-pandemic world, chat platforms became an important source of communication. It made the privacy and security of each user the highest priority—to know how our data is used and be able to express our right to free speech.
Signal is an independent, non-profit, instant messaging chat platform that focuses on users' privacy. It launched in India ahead of several other chat platforms to become the top free chat app on the App Store and the Play Store across India, Germany, France, Austria, Finland, Hong Kong, and Switzerland. The app is used by journalists, activists, lawyers, researchers, politicians, and security experts, backed by Edward Snowden, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and Tech Giant, Elon Musk to name a few.
Signal's New York team approached Kulture Lab to define the initial visual language for the brand through a series of 20 sticker packs and wallpaper packs suited to an Indian audience.
In a world of cloud-based storage, Signal has a unique approach to privacy and security. We attempted to translate its human-centric Approach in design and technology and showcase a unique voice that resonated with the current times.
People are the core of their product, so the experience of using them with useful tools through stickers for wider and alternative usage was our challenge. The process of research, ideation, sketches, illustrating led to 2 art direction styles— one that leaned towards sticker-based pop art with a mass appeal and another that was disruptive and challenging the norms while balancing the lines of neutrality, accessibility, and relevance.
We decided to create a pack of stickers and wallpapers that can address the problem in a more welcoming way by keeping it light and relatable yet talk about the core of Privacy and Freedom.
To implement our art direction, we curated digital artist Tirth Katrodia for his unique art style of digital stickers. We worked together to develop the illustrations from raw sketches, exploring using tape, getting gritty and crude, in the beginning, to later refining it digitally.
For the wallpapers, we wanted consistency yet variety in art direction to appeal to a wide range of people. This was based on our intention to avoid a cold digital aesthetic and instead carry the warmth of human touch.
Kulture Shop Artist Shirin Johari, the creator of the highly accredited Hinglish Project typography, was curated for the wallpapers. We utilized her type to create the wallpaper called This is a Safe Space, by hand integrating the typography with two overlaid hand-drawn brush techniques.
The Signal app had received an overwhelming response in India. It was nearing India's 75th Independence day and we extended the idea of showing gratitude through Thank You India Wallpaper in one wallpaper via multilingual typography of diverse Indian languages.
Abstract Conversations was a wallpaper that reflected the space to have any kind of conversation—whether angry or formal, playful or revolutionary, all in one place. The wallpaper was painted using digital watercolors to create a soft, gentle, and friendly design.
When you first download and launch the app, it will ask you to verify your phone number.
iPhone users: Type in your contact number and hit “Activate This Device.” You’ll receive a six-digit code via SMS text message. Type in the code and hit “Submit Verification Code.”
Android users: Type in your contact number, hit “Register” and wait for the app to verify your phone number. Once verified, it will ask if you want to make Signal your default messaging app, which will allow you to receive both SMS messages and Signal messages on the app. That’s up to you, but it’s important to remember that Signal will not encrypt conversations with anyone using regular old SMS text messages.
We collaborated with Signal by fine-tuning our art direction and their vision to make privacy stick. Our pack of Stickers and wallpapers is called ‘Namaste’, welcoming Indians to communicate in a safe space.
Design is used as a tool to give a voice to the conversations that matter. Please use them as you wish.