CoolGrayAJ reached out to me over Twitter, a bit unconventional, but we took the conversation to email quickly to start the regular process. For those that don’t know CoolGrayAJ works at Twitch and in particular he works with World of Warcraft streamers and wanted to try and help them with their Twitch branding. However we decided that we first wanted to work on CoolGrayAJ Twitch Branding before we moved on to anything else.
Brief for CoolGrayAJ Twitch Branding
After we had figured out most of the details surrounding the project we took our conversation to Discord, this allows for a faster communication. I shot some question but AJ had a lot to say so we needed up talking about the CoolGrayAJ Twitch Branding over voice chat instead.
The goal of these conversations is to get to understand and know the streamer in question. A few of the key things that I locked into with AJ was that he wanted something modern, wild, nature, and all linking back to the Hunter class in World of Warcraft in someway. I often talked about contrasts in design in these case studies and there’s nothing more contrasting than these concepts. AJ was unsure how it was going to be possible to get it all together but I already had a great idea for in what direction I wanted to move.
CoolGrayAJ Twitch Branding Moodboard
As you can see in the moodboard it it has a lot of those elements that I talked about. What’s not in there are a few reference images about the bow and the hunter class that AJ plays as.
In the moodboard you can see a lot of contrast and colors. While colors wasn’t something that was on the table it’s more the texture and effect that drew me to it. Taking a lot of inspiration from nature and the wild was a huge part of what I knew that I wanted to do with the CoolGrayAJ Twitch Branding.
The whole idea beind the concept will be to work with contrasts. From the illustrations, logo, panels and even down the the smallest details. When you look at the moodboard these more minimalist approaches might not be right spoken that loudly but these moodboards aren’t designed to give a 100% reflection but rather an idea of the direction.
Sketches for the logo and bow illustration
Here’s the first steps towards the final product. As always I start working with that’s going to be the main focal point of the entire brand, be it a logo, wordmark or illustration of some sort. This sets the style, theme and mood for the rest of it. Using these aa guideline is important since it’s something that the Twitch streamer will be using for a long time to come.
The sketch is a rendition of the bow that CoolGrayAJ uses in World of Warcraft. I knew that it wouldn’t work to mix the exact imagery or any other imagery from World of Warcraft would be a big no, both in terms of style but also copyright laws.
What I landed on was a interpretation that would use some basic shapes and colors that would reflect well with the modern look. At the sametime I wanted there to be something that could reflect the wild and nature feel of the World of Warcraft universe. This is our first measure of contrast.
The second mark of the contrast between wild/nature and the sleek modern look can be seen in the AJ logo. You have the hand drawn AJ and the more clean modern “Cool Gray” text.
What you’re looking at is the first preview that I sent over to AJ for approval. As you can see there’s a lot of things here that does reflect all of the ideas that was put forward in the moodboard.
One thing that was important to AJ was to keep the color gray around as much as possible. I opted to use it to balance out the white and use the pale yellow to standout even more from that, remember that we’re playing with contrasts.
With the cards you can see most of the nature/jungle influences, even using birds to further reflect this. One of the things that I’ve been talking about is using photos of the streamer as bigger part. That’s why you’re seeing two different presentations here.
Smaller things like turning images on their side can sometimes change the whole look and feel of the entire look. I used this here by simply turning the images sideways. While not a big change in execution it does change the entire feel of it and give it a eerie feeling.
Once again I’m using the two of three type of panels that I employ when creating panels. You have the smaller once that are either links or used to have text under them. But you also have the larger ones that are, in this case, to grab attention of pull the attention to that one thing.
You can also see that the bow now have cleaner lines. Usually I would go over it with the pen tool in Illustrator but since I wanted a more uneven/natural touch to it I opted to do a trace. With that trace I went over each line with the smooth tool and selection tool to make each line clean but not completely losing the original feel.
You can see that there’ have been minor adjustments for our second preview. There have been an addition of a few more panels, more cards but most notably there’s a in-game overlay.
As you can see there’s now an overall style and a language being spoken throughout the entire project. It’s used in any different ways but never overused.
Final version of the CoolGrayAJ Twitch Branding
The only real update in the final version is a few additional panels, a few more alerts (host and follow), slight adjustments to the in-game overlay to make place for the additional changes and adjustments of the cards.
While almost all the alerts look similar there’s a large difference between those and the follow alert. You can simply have different sizes using StreamLab by using different endings on the URL string. As you can see the follow alert simply slides up from right above the Spotify widget. Together this all gives a even more cohesive feel and look. All of it melts smoothly together and not letting the audience have to wonder why or how things work.
As a last thing wallpapers without the widgets and social media links was also provided that AJ could use freely.
Case studies! More coming on thursday as I’ll start to write about a roleplaying show. This was a super fun project in that I got to flex my modern style a bit more than usual. I really hope that you liked it and that you’ll come back to check out more in the future.