Delivering the Decentralised Brand

One Project: Deliver the Polkadot Brand
Four stages: Experience, Manifesto, Visual Identity, Website.
Nine Months: Community-Shaped, forpeople guided.

Hi there, after we (forpeople) were involved in the Polkadot brand exploration project last year, we’ve been thinking about what decentralisation means for brand and marketing, and how to complete the work we began, supporting the decentralised vision for Polkadot.

For Polkadot’s (brand and marketing) decentralisation and growth to be successful we need to make sure there’s a strong and shared brand foundation that the community can proudly build upon, own, and share in order to communicate Polkadot with clarity and flair, and to attract new members to the movement.

To realise the potential of Polkadot, the audience needs to broaden, and the movement is currently lacking the tools to do this.

Let’s build on this together! We propose four exciting steps to reach that goal, in close collaboration with the Polkadot Community:

1— Shape The Use Case Vision
Proposing fresh, innovative Polkadot-enabled journeys online and IRL to spark innovative thinking rooted in real-life applications.

2— Write The Guiding Narrative
Building a shared Manifesto, and Messaging accessible to everyone, everywhere.

3— Build The Expression System
Develop sharp tools to speak, draw, and build Polkadot.

4— Define The Web Experience
Bringing it together, for everyone, in the browser.

We’re forpeople, a global creative studio based in London and Amsterdam. We work with communities of all shapes and sizes to shape the future human experience — an experience which is more equal, sustainable, joyful, and together.

As 130 creatives of all backgrounds, we help companies and communities define their strategies to connect with people’s lives in a rapidly-changing world; build the codes of behaviours, messages and shared culture which build strong communities which attract others to be a part; and design the products, services, and solutions which bring multiple perspectives together, from vision to reality - connecting teams, insights, and visions to people.

Our bread and butter is helping global brands solve complex challenges, launch new products and services, undergo organisational change, and communicate with precision and humanity to reach new audiences.

We bring insight and experience from different industries outside of the Web3 bubble (but also experience working with Web3 clients), which enable us to present innovative and sensitive strategic concepts.

We’re design and marketing experts. We’ve spent 20 years building a craft which produces results: from building new vehicle brands from scratch to connecting heritage classics to a new audience, from humanising technologies to shaping communities around sustainable causes.

It’s in our name, we are forpeople. We see the potential of Polkadot (and Web 3 more broadly) to provide a foundation for better equity, access, freedom (to), freedom (from), connection, and accountability in a society which has been stacked in favour of multinational corporations with vested interests. Polkadot is an idea and platform which is inherently for people, with the recent move to embody the essence of decentralisation being a particularly exciting development.

We were engaged in a Polkadot Brand exploratory project in early 2023 to develop initial narratives and tactics—with a group of Polkadot stakeholders—which could unite and provide strategic direction for the Polkadot brand, community, and movement.

Here are the main things we’ve found through our research and discussions:

  1. Polkadot is decentralised without direction. There’s no strong shared strategy, vision or direction (beyond decentralisation) for how we impact the world positively. This means things happen slowly, and don’t all contribute to a common goal.

  2. The Polkadot identity and messaging is too deeply technology-driven and communicates well only to a small community of Web 3.0 converts and developers. This acts as a barrier to larger audiences adopting, or even understanding, the product, and certainly from joining the movement.

  3. There’s no killer “built on Polkadot breakout dApp”, which shows there’s issues convincing builders, brands, and entrepreneurs to adopt the platform; as well as highlighting that Polkadot struggles to communicate or generate potential use-cases which resonate with people.

In four key stages we plan to pick things up where we left them, and using the knowledge we gained build a shared vision for progress and articulate it with confidence.

Carrying along the ethos of decentralised governance and decision making from our previous engagement: we will ensure that the entire Polkadot Community can monitor progress, participate and contribute to the development of the final product(s) throughout the process.

The Polkadot Forum will act as our main communication channel where we will regularly post the development updates to keep the community in the loop. Each of the project’s stages will be structured around multiple feedback touchpoints: we will always start broad, gathering as much feedback and insight from the community as possible at the start of each stage, funnelling down the process into a simple voting system to determine our final outcomes.

The rule of majority vote will be our main decision-making factor. (i.e. the solution/option that gets the most votes in each round will be brought forward to the next round of development)

To keep the momentum, each of the shares will be open for feedback for a limited time only, to ensure we can all reach the common goal in the timeline we have set.
The schedule of the project and all touch-points will be made available to the community at the start of the project - in that way everyone will be able to mark all the important milestones in their calendars, and never miss a share/vote.

S1— The Use Case Vision

Web 3.0 has generally struggled to excite, engage, or really offer tangible benefits to people outside of a narrow impassioned developer and pioneer community. A part of this is that the movement hasn’t yet connected their powerful technology to use cases which impact people in their real lives, and Polkadot is still waiting for the “big breakthrough Polkadot dApp” after four years.

In this collaborative sprint we’d like to engage and inspire the Polkadot community to jointly conceptualise, map, and communicate future Polkadot-enabled use cases across different geographies, ethnographies, and industry sectors in order to concisely and impactfully provide a guide for where to focus innovation (beyond staking and finance) and ‘what you can do with/on Polkadot’ to people outside of the current Polkadot Movement. We will help you experience the future of Polkadot, today.


  • Open Submissions from the Polkadot Community for where they see the potential ‘breakthrough’ use-cases for Polkadot (and Web 3.0 more broadly) - Collaborative Kick-off Workshop - open to the community, including external opinion-makers / experts;

  • forpeople team to curate, collate, and co-create additional concepts drawing from our wide cross-industry experience design expertise.

  • Iteratively share leading concepts as a live-board with the Polkadot community and facilitate voting and feedback to downselect to a focussed list of 15 leading concepts.

  • With feedback from the Polkadot community, visualise and document these use case opportunities in a ‘Concept Document’. This document will include written descriptions, rationale, initial application prototypes, and sketch visualisation.

S2— The Guiding Narrative

Beyond limited understanding of use cases, the Web 3.0 and Polkadot movement struggle to communicate externally (and with clear targeting and purpose) to a wider group of potential users, investors, and developers of all kinds. There is no strong common manifesto or unifying directive (beyond Decentralisation) which can bring unity and purpose to the Polkadot movement, and thus attract others to become a part.

Here we will collaborate to shape a solid Guiding Narrative for the Polkadot Movement which evolves the initial drafts created as a part of our exploratory project. This will comprise a core Manifesto (short-form emotional call-to-action), as well as a more pragmatic breakdown of the key stories (who we are, what we do, how we do it, our character, our audiences — a Brand Model).

From here we will break it down into further detail and targeted messaging guidance for communicating the Polkadot offer, movement, and technology to a range of relevant audiences, which can be built upon and extended by the Polkadot Movement. Creating a guide that we will also be able to share externally with KOLS, influencers and creators who will be creating awareness and impact in collaboration with the Polkadot Community.


  • Open-source the narrative and strategy work to-date to gain comments and feedback from the Polkadot community.

  • Build a re-focussed brief for Guiding Narrative creation incorporating both that feedback, and our own strategic experience (in Web 3.0 and other consumer technology sectors.)

  • Develop x2 polarised narratives which draw on different elements of the Polkadot strategy and essence which can be A/B tested by the Polkadot community to gauge opinion and feedback on language and positioning of various components of the Polkadot offer.

  • Refine a lead narrative based on feedback and direction from the Polkadot Community, while extending and expanding the detail, audience definitions and terminology associated with it. Draft a Manifesto (short-form emotional call-to-action) with relevant imagery or video to punctuate and communicate.

  • Organise the detail into an easy-to-access, simple-to-use Messaging Toolkit which presents concepts and descriptions of elements of the Polkadot Movement, Brand, Ecosystem for the Movement to extend, implement, and deploy.

S3— The Expression System

The visual system which has been used to communicate Polkadot externally tends towards the dark, technical, and introverted aesthetic which is the default setting for the vast majority of Web 3.0 brands and platforms.

It talks effectively to groups already ‘in the know’ and close to the Web 3.0 community, but holds little appeal as a modern, humanistic, scalable, and reliable technology platform which can attract global brands, developer-entrepreneurs, and the billions-strong potential audience who could benefit from the offering.

It also doesn’t yet exist in a format in which the Polkadot Community can effectively own, deploy, and extend to bring others along on the journey.

Continuing from our initial findings within the investigative project, we propose to refine key elements of the Polkadot design system into a distinctive, soulful, and expertly-detailed toolkit for the community to own and enrich — which truly embodies the Movement’s character as the Hero—Sage.

This design system will be crafted to develop guidance for key Polkadot interactions (ie. the website; the Polkadot social media channels; the upcoming Polkadot App [Polkadot App for onboarding]; and both IRL and online events) and provide easy-to-use assets, inspiration, and guidance for the community to use.

From here we will break it down into further detail and targeted messaging guidance for communicating the Polkadot offer, movement, and technology to a range of relevant audiences, which can be built upon and extended by the Polkadot Movement.

Here are the current elements and areas to improve:

Creative Principle →
Based on the Polkadot Guiding Narrative, craft a recurring theme which unites all creative output from Polkadot. It takes the form of a creative concept with references, sketches, and stories (eg. “Join the Dots” might be a Creative Principle, and the creative system would play on the idea of connections, circles, calls to join etc.)

Brand Dots Symbol →
Explore and ideate around this asset to incorporate more story, through 2D; 3D; Moving Image, and Material exploration.

“Polkadot” wordmark →
The original 2021 drawing of the word has been seen as childish and not embodying the strength or solidity or wisdom of the Hero—Sage. We will redraw it to imbue new confidence, craft, and care (based on our original sketches and feedback by Gavin Wood).

Colour System →
Current Polkadot colour system is too dark and cold, and opens the brand to legal action from Deutsche Telekom over the use of Pink. We propose to incorporate more lighter and humanistic colours, and evolve the Polkadot Pink into its own territory. We’ll also guideline the use of colours with best practice accessibility and provide inspiration and toolkits for use.

Unbounded typography →
Current Polkadot font is used in a highly technical capacity which makes it hard to communicate with the sensitivity and calmness of a Sage. We’ll evolve the guidance for the Unbounded font family so that it can be solid, strong, wise, and reassuring.

Illustration →
Current Polkadot illustration is generic within the Web 3.0 world and doesn’t communicate with warmth or clarity. We’ll refine the illustration proposals created within the exploratory project in order to expand the communicative palette of Polkadot.

Art Direction →
There is no clear imagery or art direction for Polkadot, but this is one of the most powerful communicative tools. We’ll generate guidance for creating and curating Polkadot photography (covering style, content, post-production, and usage).

Tone of Voice →
We will provide straightforward guidance and examples for how to speak Polkadot as the Hero—Sage. This will assist the community to speak in a shared voice when acting as the brand.

Shapes & Layouts →
We will build a scalable guide of how to bring all the elements together in an uniquely Polkadot way, setting principles for layout of digital and physical communications, with working files and guidance. Within this module we will spend time on developing key GUI (Graphical User Interface) componentry for the website and Polkadot dApps.


  • Use the Guiding Narrative to shape two distinct Creative Territories; based on the Community’s vote, those two routes will be developed into one leading Creative Principle that will drive the brand evolution process;

  • Using the Principle we will develop and refine a versatile set of Key Brand Elements: logo/symbol, colours, type, illustrations, layouts… We will iteratively test them in real-life application mockups - sharing the prototypes with the Community as we go and evolving them based on feedback;

  • The refined elements will form the new Polkadot Brand Identity System - a repository open to the whole of Polkadot Community will include a Brand Assets Library supported by use guidelines, as well as guidance on how to generate and source new content which speaks with the Polkadot voice.

  • To complement the visual identity, we will also define a unique Tone of Voice for Polkadot, using the Hero-Sage archetype as guide. Including glossaries of terms and concepts; and a guide to sounding Polkadot, naturally.

S4— The Web Experience

Polkadot’s homepage is and will be the first port-of-call for new entrants to the Polkadot Movement. Whether dApp builders, DOT owners, or (—most importantly) the Web 3.0 uninitiated, we need to make a clear and memorable first impression; provide easy calls-to-action; and help anybody orient themselves effectively in the Polkadot ecosystem.

The current website launches more or less straight into the technical details which aren’t of interest to the vast majority of potential future audience. Within this module, we will redefine the flows and journeys of the Polkadot website, generating front-end-designs for implementation.

With experience crafting the Guiding Narrative, and Visual Systems for Polkadot, we have intimate knowledge of nuances of communication, creative tools, and the challenges which non-native audiences face when landing on the current Polkadot website.

We’ll work with the community to redefine the UX flow of the key pages/sections - starting with the Home Page, and building templates for the flowing of content across the site. We’ll generate designs for the different user flows, deploying the visual system with flair and sensitivity.

We’ll generate scalable designs which can be implemented by the community’s preferred development resources.


  • In collaboration with the Community, map out the user journey through the key pages of the Polkadot website, taking in consideration journeys and needs of users with different levels of Web 3.0 savviness.

  • Using the Guiding Narrative and the UX flow, refine the messaging for the Home Page and the key navigations of the portal, ensuring the Polkadot’s bold vision shines throughout, striking with both inspiration and clarity.

  • Applying the Brand Identity System and Creative Direction, create a range of design mockups for testing with users and community.

  • Deliver the designs as iteratively refined prototypes that will allow for real life testing of the concepts and flows.

  • Develop a library of templates and guides that will help the community build new pages with confidence.


Thank you for your kind and careful consideration, we’ve really enjoyed our interactions with the energised and inspiring Polkadot Community so far, and are thrilled to be considered as a partner in enabling the exciting move to total decentralisation.

If you have any questions or comments which can help us hone this project proposal and deliver better impact for the entire Polkadot community, please let us know! :smile:


hey!! I skimmed through but didn’t grasp the broader picture. can you simlify in few sentences? :sweat_smile:

Hey there, of course:

Simply put, we were really inspired by the longer term vision of Polkadot but noticed the momentum was lacking. After our initial involvement with the Polkadot brand and community, we feel like there is still a need for building a strong base that the community can build upon and share. A shared vision encapsulated in key brand assets and guides (shared, open source and ready-to-use) that will enable the decentralised marketing to be even more successful.

We propose a 4 stage journey together:

1— Shape The Use Case Vision
In a collaborative process we start with building a library of real-life use cases - imagining fresh, innovative Polkadot-enabled experiences that would help us root the vision IRL.

2— Write The Guiding Narrative
Using those applications as foundation we will build a shared Manifesto, and Messaging Guide to help present Polkadot with confidence and clarity to everyone, everywhere.

3— Build The Expression System
We will then develop a set of tools for the whole community to use, key brand assets – easy to make your own and to apply in all Polkadot communications.

4— Define The Web Experience
Bringing it together, for everyone, in the browser - re-designing the Polkadot website to radiate the new mission, whilst being accessible to old and new audiences alike.

We will bring the community along on the (whole of) the journey - allowing for input and feedback along the process, and making important decisions by the means of a voting system.

Hope that helps, happy to answer any more questions you might have,

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