How I created the brand identity for our startup, p. 2. The making-of

Valeriia Panina
5 min readDec 24, 2020


It’s the second part of a three-part story on how I created the brand identity for our startup, SharpShark. Check the first and the last parts here.

Here I want to give a huge shout-out to my brand identity mentor, Svyat Vishnyakov because his brilliant advice really paved the way to the result we enjoy now.

Below I’ll break down my work process.


So, you want some inspiration for your next design project. The first intuitive thought might be to go to design resources like Behance, Dribble, or Muzli.


It used to be my go-to strategy, but in reality, you can’t create something original if you start with looking at how other people implement their ideas, skipping the exploration stage for your own project.

That’s why I stepped back and thought about our topic, industry, its origins, and related things.

57 pages of exploration of the world of the Intellectual property

I reflected this in my research.

Overview of my research

The goal of the research is to examine the existing industry visuals and to find a special image that you can get your feet on and develop into an integrated visual system. So the brand identity has its strong core idea.

As I said, our domain is Intellectual property, namely — copyright. Thus, I divided my research into the following sections:

In each section, I’m showing artifacts and concepts associated with it

Picking up the idea

After a careful examination, I singled out several concepts that I wanted to build on.

In the first place, official papers (in part, patent certificates and so on):

A Chinese patent. Image credit:

They usually have a vivid, full-color folder cover, and generic, inner sheets with one accent color.

Other related papers are even black-and-white. And one thing that I want to particularly highlight is the dividers:

The international search report (patent search, PCT), image credit: and the European patent specification, image credit:

The next big topic is holography:

Security printing, featuring holographic images. Image credit:

In its turn, it has various aspects: peculiar physics phenomena behind it, labs where such items are produced, the appearance of gradients, printed items. As for its graphic expressions, it’s sometimes combined with other security printing methods.

All was good, but it lacked unity.

The idea

I needed an umbrella idea as the main basis for these findings.

Where to pick it?

The evolution of my mindset

I should say that I used to follow this conventional path: if I need a graphic idea, I go to graphic design social platforms like Behance and Pinterest and browse everything connected with the topic-in-question. But in this case, I explore implementations but not the domain itself — thus, just can’t end up with something original.

This time, I did it the other way. Long story short, I studied the physical phenomena behind secure printing and recalled different sci-fi concepts about time, and it struck me.

My source of inspiration. Image credit:

So, the underlying technology of our product implies that the user creates a digital certificate that will exist forever, and can be accessed anytime.

In other words, something that had never existed before is created — and it will exist eternally.

A 3D body in a 2D world. Image credit:

Let’s assume that time is another dimension of space. It’s a concept, borrowed from H. Wells’s “Time Machine” and analyzed in Yakov Perelman’s “Mathematics Can Be Fun” book.

Then, let’s pick the simplest form to denote the certificate: a dot. And depict its being on a scale. And…

… we’ll get a line.

But it shouldn’t be just a static line all the time.

It can become bold:

And double:

And eventually, morph into backgrounds:

It can incorporate pictures and photos (and rotate, right?):

Image credit:

It can be made of letters or symbols:

By the way, when made of letters, it resembles security printing:

Image credit:

And who said that it should be straight? It can be dynamic, reflecting the message it carries.

Say, harsh zig-zags when talking about problems:

Or soft waves when describing neutral concepts:

And this became the glue that held together all the pieces of our product identity.

That said, let’s see the full picture →



Valeriia Panina

Product-minded designer with expertise in content. Keen on tech & arts. Co-building a startup