Does Blockchain Have a Design Problem?

Blockchain has gained the reputation of a system that’s just too complex to understand with words, let alone with design. Zoya Malik, Managing Editor asked Tetiana Vilgan, Product Marketing Manager at Crello to share her views with SMEWEB readers on the challenges and use of design to make the concept of blockchain for brands, more accessible to all

The Art Director at Crello says that blockchain can be an enigma to him at times, and understands why some designers can find it ‘too much to tackle’. But in actual fact, blockchain is pretty simple. Without too much technical jargon, it’s essentially a safe way to encode and store information.

Tetiana Vilgan comments: The important element to put forward when communicating about blockchain using words or design, should not be focused on the actual process, but rather, on its practical applications. This makes the design process exciting and easier to handle for consumer brands across industries like food, computing and luxury goods.

Let’s take food safety. Walmart has been working with IBM to digitise their supply chains. As a result, the company will be able to find out where a specific grocery item came from and what intermediaries handled the food almost instantaneously.
Entering all the supply chain information in a blockchain reduces the time it takes to track a specific item from a week to several seconds.

But how do you show this with design?

Well, instead of focusing on the advanced technology used to encode and store the information, why not show what really matters – the core point? As marketers, we don’t normally talk about the type of wiring used in a computer when we are unveiling the product to customers. Rather, we focus on the benefits our consumer receives.
This means that we should try to illustrate the application of blockchain instead of the technology.

In the case of Walmart, focusing on the story surely makes for a better visual:

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With a simple illustration like this one, we address the problem of looking at a piece of merchandise that’s been contaminated, deformed or otherwise damaged with a more human approach. When it comes to using pre-designed visuals such as Crello’s to illustrate the work of blockchain companies, we believe simplicity is key. We offer 20,000+ templates for social media, blogging, websites and marketing, but we don’t expect customers working in the blockchain industry to go straight to the Technology category and only use templates we have there.

In general, people aren’t very good with abstract concepts. A set of cables and a motherboard icon are not going to help explain much. Blockchain needs to distance itself from the programming side of things and focus on humanising the end result – showing the important difference it brings to our everyday lives.

When we asked our marketing designer Kateryna Larina which templates she’d recommend blockchain companies use in their marketing and social media activities, she simply said, “Any template will do! Why use some vague crypto technology-themed design if you can show the results the technology can accomplish?”

Another industry where blockchain is making its path is luxury. With luxury items, people are paying to advertise the fact that they paid a lot for an item just as much as they are paying for quality. That means having the ability to verify that an item is not a copy is really crucial.
Diamond authentication has been a craft before the Roman Empire. People have always wanted to be sure the luxury items they bought were real. Louis Vitton has just announced this spring that they are integrating blockchain technology to track their goods from raw materials to stores and then around the used goods market.

With the flood of high quality copies of designer bags and other items out there, blockchain authentication sounds like a truly reliable way to attribute luxury items to their producers.
Now, will the marketing departments of these companies use dark blue and steel colors typically associated with technology, cryptocurrencies and blockchain to talk about the improved authentication method?

They will be more likely to speak the language their customers understand and expect around the production process, materials, and supply chain points, via channels like online forms to check where the bag was made.

As we were coming up with ideas for this feature, we talked to our Senior Designer and Content Team Manager Olha Rohulia who said, “We use slang and technical terms when we communicate within our design team, but we adjust that the moment our audience changes, you know?” “Someone who has a deep understanding of how blockchain works will get your message anyway,” she adds. “Regardless of the number of bright spots you connect on your dark blue background.”






“What you want is your message to be accessible to an audience of non-experts. In, say, a post for Facebook or an Instagram story. Abstract items just add to the mystery that blockchain poses and can just add confusion,” she says.

No matter how complex the concept, if you really get it, you should be able to explain it to a five year old. Explain blockchain with simple words and designs and don’t fall victim to blockchain’s design problem!

Image Credit: All images created by Crello templates

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