There are thousands of ways to read or write on the Internet. Medium is one of the few places that still sets out to deliver on the Internet’s original promise: to make the world a better place through the free exchange of knowledge and ideas. As founder Ev Williams said shortly after the platform launched, “The ethos behind Medium is one of openness and democracy—like the Internet itself.”
Since their founding in 2012, Medium has continuously evolved in pursuit of that mission, acting as a counterbalance to the downward spiral of online discourse. With ad-fueled clickbait on one side and echo chambers filled with our own opinions on the other, debates and dialogue have been heading from worse to a whole lot worse. Medium saw the need to help end this spiral—but they also understood any environment where good ideas could gain momentum and an audience had to be built, protected and renewed.
To do this, Medium embraced its culture of experimentation and evolution—beginning with its choice to be ad-free, using a subscription model to pay writers. Most recently, they’ve rethought how to support dialog between readers and writers to elevate the ideas that are shared. As Williams wrote in his announcement of these changes, “The web was meant as a two-way medium, where every reader is a writer and every thinker has a home. Let’s make it that way, again.”
We agreed, wholeheartedly. Over the course of the last year, COLLINS partnered with Medium to push their mission forward by strengthening the brand and platform. We’ve always believed that bold, confident voices travel far. The more we learned about Medium, the more we were inspired to help their voice—and the diversity of ideas it promotes—to travel as far as it could.
Working closely with the marketing and creative teams at Medium, we found a way by putting the creation, nurturing and championing of those ideas front and center.
The latest evolution of the Medium platform has been developed to encourage deeper relationships and exchanges between readers and writers—to be a place for a new idea to be challenged by different perspectives, grow stronger, reach its potential, expand its audience—and flourish.
Every idea needs a Medium.
Building a brand that could serve as the foundation for this ambition required marrying both refreshed visuality and evolved language. Our new brand system was born out of the dynamic tensions in all new ideas—especially between those who shape them, share them, support them and challenge them.
We started by refining Medium’s existing wordmark—seeking to create a stronger expression that balances the need to be vibrant, but not overpowering. We also wanted the brand to be able to step back, encouraging more room for more people to participate. This inspired a new symbol—one that amplifies the geometry of a three-dot ellipsis…
The new symbol signals both the anticipation of new ideas as well as the shift in perspective necessary to embrace them once they arrive. Its geometry seeks to complement the more ornate nature of the new wordmark.
Together, the new wordmark and symbol are supported by new typography and a richer, digital-first color palette which balance expressiveness with legibility—so anyone on Medium can find it easy and enticing to read or create something to be read.
Seeking additional ways to inject more visuality into the Medium language, we found inspiration by shifting the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” into “a picture is a thousand words.” Using typography itself as a building block, we crafted a blunt illustration system that gives movement and depth to the written word.
Meanwhile, we knew Medium’s use of language would be a powerful tool to hold the brand together—and engage with the millions of people who help power it. So, Medium speaks as if we’re all sitting across the table from each other, ready for good discussion and debate—like the best writers and audiences have always done.
We’ve been honored to work so closely with the people at Medium and help reimagine new ways to communicate the Internet’s original promise.
Here’s to your ideas and the people they touch.