The times are certainly changing. Post the pandemic, chat platforms have become an important source of communication across the world. This has 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 mainly 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 in India, Germany, France, Austria, Finland, Hong Kong, and Switzerland. The messaging app is now used by journalists, activists, lawyers, researchers, politicians, and security experts around the world, backed by the likes of Edward Snowden, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey and Tech Giant, Elon Musk to name a few.
Signal's New York team approached Kulture Shop’s in-house design team as they entered a new market. They wanted to define the brand's initial visual language through a series of 20 sticker packs and wallpaper packs for the Indian audience.
In a world of cloud based storage, Signal has a unique approach to privacy and security. Our aim was to continue its human centric MO in design and technology, but also showcase a unique voice that resonated with the current times.
People are the core of their product, so how we provide them with useful tools through stickers for wider and alternative usage was our challenge. After several brainstorming sessions and 8 rounds of research, ideation, sketches, illustrating and iterations we decided to go with 2 art direction styles—one that leans more towards pop with a mass appeal and one which is disruptive and challenges the norms while straddling the lines of neutrality, accessibility and relevance.
To implement our art direction, we curated Tirth Katrodia who has extensive knowledge in designing sticker packs for several platforms. He assisted us by developing the illustrations from initial sketches. We collaborated by fine tuning our art direction and vision to welcome Signal to the Indian market.
For the wallpapers, we wanted consistency yet variety in art direction to appeal to a wide range of people. This was based in our adamance to avoid a cold digital space and instead carry the warmth of human touch.
Kulture Shop Artist Shirin Johari, creator of the highly accredited Hinglish Project typography, was curated for the wallpapers. We utilised her type to create the wallpaper called This is a Safe Space, by hand producing the type with two overlaid hand drawn brush textures.
The Signal app had received an overwhelming response in India. We extended the idea of showing gratitude through Thank You to unify and connect the nation in one wallpaper via multilingual typography of different Indian languages.
Abstract Conversations was a wallpaper which reflected the space to have any kind of conversation—whether angry or formal, playful or revolutionary, all in one place. The wallpaper was hand painted using water colours 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.
DOWNLOADFind Signal for iPhone or Android here