Decentralized Futures - Pokadot - A Headless Brand journey

This proposal introduces a model for Decentralisation of the Polkadot Brand Identity and associated design requirements.

But why? What’s the benefit? :thinking: Well… picture this.

A new product or service has been months in the development.

The team are excited. Channels have been mapped. MVP ready. The roadmap of sales enablement set. Downloads, uptake, CTR’s, Subscriptions, RFI’s, purchase models, predicted revenue streams… Double digit growth year 1. Impressive profit.

Cool… What else?

Oh yeah… We need some design. :dizzy_face:

Creative that will smash expectations, deliver limitless traffic, turbo charge demand on a global scale - Build and amplify awareness, create understanding and educate…

Gimme a landing page… Kick-a** banners… NFT’s… SWAG etc, etc.

Oh… And the deadline is tomorrow… :exploding_head:

Truth is, brand and design (core requirements of any GTM or awareness building strategy) are often the last link in the chain.

Which is a problem.

Because Brand and design, when added to the value chain early enough, can be powerful business weapons that lead to measurable impact and conversion plus a gazillion other new business objectives.

Creative quality influences up to 75% of campaign performance.

Source: Ipsos

Now, more than ever, quality counts. :gem: :gem: :gem:

Our objective is to create a high performance, lean agency model. A Brand and design collective dedicated to helping delivery of Polkadot’s brand in a decentralised and egalitarian way.

Our offer helps provide a bridge to the community - with the quality of a boutique design resource, while also creating a conduit for the community to eventually drive the Polkadot brand and its initiatives.


The decentralisation of Polkadot’s BD and Marcomms infrastructure has given rise to an unprecedented and exciting opportunity to reimagine how Polkadot’s brand identity is perceived across a multitude of audiences, how it can be developed, its governance and ultimately how it can be driven by the community.

Delivery of a decentralised brand for Polkadot is going to take time, focus, patience and genuine passion from the community and active stakeholders.

We plan to submit a proposal to provide seamless DaaS (Design as a Service) support across a multitude of channels that will help the Polkadot Brand transition through to decentralisation and beyond. The goal being the creation of a brand identity that is strong, autonomous and community driven.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this proposal. :pray:

Here’s our WIP outline deck: FORUM FUTURES FOUNDATION GUI Pitch V6 - Google Slides

Current status: Polkadot Brand Refresh

As many will know, during 2023 there has been a Polkadot Brand refresh taking place. The purpose of this project was to correct many of the issues and insights found to be problematic in the previous brand redesign and to provide a more consolidated and consistent framework across the entire design system. Adding a foundational strategic core to the brand identity and exploring a North Star positioning were also explored.

This project is in its final stages and, with the help of the community, will lay the foundations for the next iteration of the Polkadot Brand Identity.

The refresh covers research, strategy, insights, narrative proposals, North star and visual system.

A huge amount of effort and resources have gone into the refresh project so far - the insights and findings are instrumental in defining the path for the Decentralised brand.

The Polkadot in-house design team have been particularly close to this project. We were privy to hours of community and ecosystem member interviews.

We’ve listened to responses, reactions and requirements and have been incorporating these concepts into the next iteration of the Brand refresh. Predicated on insight, strategy and design evolution.

Polkadot brand GUILD

As part of this process, a Polkadot Brand Guild has been established - built from talented, informed and passionate members of the community.

With the help and involvement of the community, we can deliver the kind of visionary step change the Polkadot Brand needs to bring it kicking and screaming into the new decentralised landscape.

To help in decision making, community awareness and engagement dedicated to closure of this project, an intermediate Polkadot Brand Guild has been created.

Interim Guild members have either been nominated or volunteered to be considered as part of the foundational Guild.

Their role is to help guide the development and delivery of the Polkadot Brand identity as part of the decentralisation efforts. By connecting the community, involving them in open and egalitarian decision making processes, (on-chain, off-chain voting mechanisms, polls and questionnaires), Polkadot’s Brand identity will be amplified, evolved and validated. The Brand will be successfully Decentralised and assimilated into the community over the next 12 months.

It will take time and effort. But with methodical care and focus, the end result will be a successful Headless Brand model.

After the initial phase of interim guild is over (end of Q1 2024) membership of the Guild will be put to On-chain vote. The members who are elected from this point on, will remain for a standard tenure of 6 months before review. Members will be nominally incentivised as part of GUILD service and will qualify for a unique ‘Polkadot Brand GUILD’ accreditation for their contribution.

GUILD membership and possible responsibilities

Define and abide by GUILD code of conduct / principles

Be the owners of Polkadot brand consistency

Align on Brand strategy and ensure ties to Polkadot OKRs and KPIs

Cross check, confirm and allocate budget & resource

Ensure legal compliances (copyright, tort, passing off, ™ protection) and integrity of Brand & marketing activities aligned with community

Create and manage brand and design delivery SLAs

Engage community creators with a proven track record of creating quality content

Manage and oversee open source brand guidelines

Proposed 10 hours per month time commitment

Futures Foundation Proposal - GUI Design collective


GUI Design is a specialist Web3 Brand and Design collective.

We have the experience and network associations to offer world class Brand and Design as a Service (DaaS).

We’re a fluid team of highly experienced, award winning design and brand obsessives who aim to push the boundaries of design thinking to promote success and impact for the Polkadot Brand, ecosystem clients and partners.

Our core members have many years of brand, creative and design industry experience - alongside a phenomenal network of senior designers, brand experts and creative firebrands. We will also connect to our design creators within the community for specific briefs. We have expertise at our disposal across all industry verticals and disciplines.

Some of the incredible artists we have relationships with are creators like David Popa, Brendan Dawes, Paul Belford, dimension studio and Farris Popat but there are many many more. We have an insatiable appetite for outstanding design that delivers measurable impact for our clients (and in this case, for the Polkadot Brand).

Our goal is to push the boundaries of Web3 design, brand and content while exploring mass market adoption strategies when and where applicable.

GUI design is sticky - meaning we understand our audience and tailor content to their needs - delivering higher OKR’s as a result of our 5 step design process.

GUI is platform and discipline agnostic. We’re also very happy to work collaboratively with any organisation or group who want to deliver outstanding design and impactful brand experiences.

Our value proposition:

We offer Growth acceleration through optimised Design.

GUI embraces the ethos of Web3 in our philosophy while seeking to leverage the power of community, data and design iteration in delivering high impact brand and design solutions.

Our test and iterate process is an essential design thinking strategy that results in the most optimised solution for success - based on requirements of the brief and associated OKR’s.

Using robust testing formats with community members (A/B or multivariate testing, Survey Monkey, Optimizely, Zoomerang etc) GUI aims to refine and iterate qualifying design initiatives to maximise engagement opportunities.

Our core team have been instrumental in creating many of the most successful brand, NFT and design projects for Polkadot in recent years. Their knowledge of briefing, design format and execution will ensure the appropriate testing process is deployed quickly and smoothly.

Decentralising Polkadot’s Brand Identity

GUI is ideally positioned to help play a strategic and executional role in the decentralisation of the Polkadot Brand Identity.

Several members of the GUI collective have been involved in Polkadot Brand Refresh efforts this year. Now in its closing stages, the knowledge and insights gleaned from this project will prove invaluable in empowering the community to weaponise the Polkadot brand through 2024 and beyond.

Founded by Chris Beckles and Lucian Lupu (incumbent design stewards for Polkadot’s Brand Identity) Chris and Lucian will have played an integral part (providing guidance, insight, design execution or 3rd party review) in practically every creative asset delivered for Polkadot during their time in the business. From PBA to Decoded and Sub0 - as well as a host of other projects.

This provides GUI a unique understanding of practical and technical design delivery for the Polkadot brand across its spectrum of channels and platforms. Everything from product UX/UI right through to Event NFT’s.

GUI - On brand & guaranteed business continuity

The road to Decentralisation is going to take time and patience. There’s a need for experimentation, key learnings and an iterative approach to creating the right dynamics to deliver against creative expectations, coherent parameters of consistency aligned to business objectives.

GUI can provide seamless integrated design support during the first few critical months of the decentralisation process. Helping the Polkadot Brand Guild get to grips with the structures and formats of design process and delivery. Quickly, collaboratively. Organically. Helping to make the entire process smoother and stress free.

GUI can be there to support rapid design delivery, (overnight turnaround for example) or to help support the Guild in making and proposing On-Chain requests.

When the process calls for RFI’s for example, GUI could help evaluate submissions from interested 3rd parties as a validation filter - Thus ensuring Treasury spend is reviewed through the correct professional lens.

GUI has a solid understanding of community, Polkadot ecosystem and technology - through the hands-on lens of design. We also know how to optimise engagements in these channels (based on previous projects) and we have a deep understanding of zeitgeist developments taking place at the cutting edge of the Web3 design and creative landscape.

We offer a comprehensive range of design services promoting maximum efficiencies in costs - thanks to highly competitive rate cards and SLA’s.

Our Services:

Brand audit, strategy and design

Digital & graphic design

Ecosystem brand and design support

Social media content design and campaign ideation

Website strategy and wireframes, UX/UI

Website design

Stage appropriate delivery - Low fidelity, mid range, High fidelity

Ideation services, content creation

Marcomms design

Video/animation production, Explainer videos, Presentations

Events coverage, Events branding, collateral, SWAG, NFT / POAP development

Our Additional services:

GUI also plans to offer a unique service to the Parachain ecosystem. Provision of rapid, agile branding and design delivery - Low cost, easy to implement and flexible support.


Offering a ‘fit for purpose’ logo, landing page design, presentation template and set of social media banner / post assets. Fast turn, template driven service to help get parachain or ecosystem members up and running with a professional suite of branded assets.


Similar to Brand in a box, Campaign in a box (or promotion) would be a specific fast turn deliverable based on parachain requirements and key objectives. Once agreed, core concept reformatted to cover essential collateral for campaign delivery.

These basic delivery services will enhance Brand Awareness efforts to help deliver greater visibility and recognition of Parachains and the Polkadot Ecosystem in the most appropriate channels available.

This additional support promotes overall Ecosystem Growth and amplification. By providing design services that underpin the success of Polkadot-affiliated programmes, GUI is actively encouraging and supporting the wider growth of the Polkadot network.

Application to the Decentralised Future Program

GUI design is requesting feedback and support for the start-up implementation phase of its brand and design agency (DaaS) offering.

Closely aligned to the Decentralized Futures program, GUI could act as a trusted delivery partner who is ‘ready to go’ from the 31st of January 2024 if required.

Decentralisation, brand Guild support and optimisation capabilities will be combined to create the best possible conditions for success, business continuity and efficiency.

Specific project funding will come via general treasury proposals in answer to RFP’s. As a potential member of the Polkadot Brand Guild (post on-chain vote) GUI would seek to add an educational layer for new Guild members, providing onboarding materials and educational content for those who are new to the process.

By the end of the funding period, GUI would aim to be financially independent with a roster of clients supplying revenue.

Strategic alignment with other decentralised marketing teams is essential for the future success of the Polkadot Brand identity. Channels such as social media, website content, BizDev and Events support need clear and aligned messaging to drive objectives, measurement and success.

GUI’s inherent understanding of previous marketing motions, launches and key deliverables could help ensure collaboration and integration is taking place effectively - and that key relationships are being fostered correctly at project initiation.

GUI Design would like to thank you for your time, consideration and feedback in this exciting process.

  1. Very cool proposal, can we see this project in its final stages? If not, why not?

  2. How do you see your guild relate to “Modular Marketing Materials”?

  3. To use a tired example, Nike brand isn’t about shoes, its about honoring great athletes and great athletics. In the new brand refresh, how does the new brand explain what does Polkadot stand for?

  4. If we did something like “Polkadot Does What Ethereum Cannot” 2024 Brand Marketing Campaign, how can you see the Guild coordinating with an agency RFP process or is that now meaningless and irrelevant because like the new brand identity already has a solid 2.0 Narrative? (Thus 1)

Why would world class brand agency use stock photo as logo and not original design?


@dotdotdiddy, Thank you for your observation - Sadly, GUI does not exist as an operating entity yet.

Like many, we are awaiting the outcome of our proposal to the Decentralised Futures programme. Once we have this information, we will deploy all of our design skills in delivering a visual and brand experience worthy of the proposition.

We value creativity above all else and, as such, would not enter into such a venture half heartedly. Hope this helps. Many thanks

Hi Sourabhniyogi,

1. Very cool proposal, can we see this project in its final stages? If not, why not?

Absolutely! I’ll be sharing each stage of the Brand refresh project in a series of upcoming posts - The purpose is to bring the community up to speed with developments. One of the problems is that some members of the community who were involved with the earlier stages of the project are no longer involved. That said, I’m keen to update the existing community as this involvement is key to getting the project over the line.

2. How do you see your guild relate to “Modular Marketing Materials”?

The GUILD will ultimately be responsible for driving the brand - but this doesn’t mean it will be dictatorial in its approach. Each member has fantastic experience - and understands the value of a collaborative approach to the creative process. So irrespective of what type of content is considered, (modular, bespoke, automated, programmatic, Brand, Events, promotions, campaigns), all content types should be eligible for review and discussion. Long term, best practice will be for the GUILD to help advise on brand consistency, strategic alignment and quality control.

3. To use a tired example, Nike brand isn’t about shoes, its about honoring great athletes and great athletics. In the new brand refresh, how does the new brand explain what does Polkadot stand for?

After many rounds of individual interviews, discussions, research and exploration by our Brand agency partner (For People), the process focussed on a number of potential narratives that were shared with the community - who responded via a Typeform questionnaire. Bearing in mind this was very much a WIP, the narrative that resonated most with audiences was the third option. The strategic narrative of ‘Join In’.

pw: forPolkadot2023

We have since iterated on the core wording, but the sentiment remains the same. This final narrative is about to be shared and tested with the community. Findings will be announced.

4. If we did something like “Polkadot Does What Ethereum Cannot” 2024 Brand Marketing Campaign, how can you see the Guild coordinating with an agency RFP process or is that now meaning and irrelevant because like the new brand identity already has a solid 2.0 Narrative?

This is a cool proposal and a strategy I’ve seen work before.
As representatives and community drivers of the Polkadot Brand, the GUILD would play a high level role in exploring the strategic objectives and possible amplification opportunities/measurement of a proposal of this nature. At this stage, the refreshed Brand Identity is not cast in stone or approved, so ongoing work and projects will still need to be created for business continuity. The GUILD will play a part in defining the refreshed brand identity and will aim to measure significant brand and campaign creatives. Documenting success metrics is fundamental to predicting repeat campaign activity in a YOY marketing engagement cadence.