Inclusive brand design on Twitch
My little sister has been evolving in video games for a few years, and she’s recently decided to launch a Twitch channel called Linkorep. I’ll be honest with you, I knew nothing about Twitch a few weeks ago. Or video games for that matter.
But when she told me she was going to create the overlays by herself, my controlling designer ego stepped up. If you’re planning to do something similar, here’s what a strategic branding process looks like.
First, you need to know how you’re going to cover your subject. Whatever you want to talk about, politics, video games, or penguins in Antarctica, you need to define your channel’s personality. It’s not rocket science but it’s important to do things in the right order.
Your brand archetypes
Archetypes are personas you can tap into to create a personality people will relate to. It helps potential followers to feel like they really know you. Why do you need this? Because great channels reflect their brand archetype(s) through and through — from their functionality to the aesthetics.
- The creator — inspirational, innovative, provocative
- The ruler — refined, commanding, articulate
- The caregiver—caring, warm, reassuring
- The innocent—wholesome, optimistic, honest
- The sage—knowledgeable, guiding, assured
- The explorer—exciting, fearless, daring
- The outlaw—disruptive, rebellious, combative
- The magician—transformative, mystical, informed
- The hero—honest, motivational, brave
- The every(wo)man—friendly, humble, authentic
- The jester—fun, loving, playful, optimistic
- The lover—sensual, empathetic, soothing
To define your archetypes, select the values that resonate the most with you. Your brand can be a combination of two personas and you can be very creative about how you put them in place. For example, you could be a mix between the magician and the jester. For this, you could have the magician in your visual identity but apply the jester’s traits to your tone of voice.
Remember one thing though. A brand archetype isn’t your personal brand, your target audience or your product. A brand archetype is simply the personality of your brand. It’s how you decide to present it to the world.
Your brand core
Now you’ve defined your brand personality, you can use it to describe your vision, mission and values. Those are important to keep in writing to ensure you stay coherent over time.
Your vision — the change you want to see in the world
In Linkorep’s case, her vision is to support inclusion and kindness in the video game industry. That’s the change she wants to see in the world. You need to answer the same question. What are you doing it all for?
Your mission — how you’re going to get there
Your mission tells you how you will work towards the change you want to see. Linkorep’s planning on presenting games by indie studios for marginalised people. That’s one of her ways to work for a more inclusive industry. It’s also one of her content pillars. For content creators, mission statements and content pillars are closely tied in.
Your values—what you’ll always stand up for
With clear values, your brand will perform better. You’ll have your own guiding compass for the future, internally and externally. Even as the world changes, your values are basic principles that stay the same.
When choosing your brand archetypes, you should have found your values already. But maybe there are better words for the causes you care about. Don’t hesitate to be specific about them.
Your Twitch panels
By now, your brand should be much clearer. So you can easily write up your Twitch panels. Like any other element of your channel, this is a great opportunity to show your personality.
This is also the time to be consistent with your decisions. If you’ve decided on an archetype, now isn’t the time to go off-piste and start using a tone of voice that isn’t on-brand. Consistency creates expectations among your followers. Expectations are the reason they’ll keep coming back. So stick to your choices.
For Linkorep, it’s the perfect opportunity to show what she cares about and to prove it’s not just lip service. She cares about mental health and inclusion, so she needs to use inclusive language. Our mother tongue is French which is a gendered language. And although this is a big debate in France at the moment, she’s decided to use inclusive writing. You can see this in her choice of words, carefully avoiding gendered terms. She’s also encouraging new people entering the chat to specify their pronouns.
All of these choices are in line with her original choice of archetypes. So make sure you think yours through carefully.
Like any other visual element, your overlays are a big part of your brand’s personality. They must match what you intended when you chose your archetypes.
For Linkorep, her work towards inclusion makes it impossible to dismiss accessibility. That means her choice of colours must have good colour contrast. She should also offer dark and light modes depending on people’s preferences. It helps people with visual impairment to enjoy the same experience as others.
Creating accessible overlays also means avoiding busy interfaces. You want to keep it clean for people not to be visually overwhelmed. Of course, the standards in video games are not the same as in web design, but I see great potential in merging the best from both worlds.
Again, the point here is to be consistent throughout all your screens. So if you’re not a designer yourself, don’t hesitate to ask for help. It’s those little details that will make your Twitch channel successful.
👋 I’m a web designer specialising in accessible websites for non-profits, charities or brands using tech for good. Have a project you’d like to discuss? Book a call or email me.
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