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I2P - The Invisible Internet Project

We helped I2P create their new brand strategy, visual identity and shape the user experience of their browser extension for Firefox.

“ The internet is unable to ensure privacy for those who need it the most.
However people should have control on their identity and decide how
much or little they want to share about themselves. ”

As the global presence and impact on secure communication of I2P are expanded, its brand and visual identity need to be ambitious, persistent, also, friendly and approachable for a diversity of people, communicating its core values, making I2P reach the people who share the same ideals and values.

This project has the ambition to help I2P define their aspiration and the mission of their brand, also offering a new brand strategy and visual identity.

Understanding the Personality

By understanding the purpose of I2P, starting with the “Why?”, after several discussions and research, we helped define the voice and personality of the I2P identity. Visually moving away from the dark hacker aestethetics, we made I2P’s look approachable look, potentially making it easier to reach a larger audience of people who have not been familiar with I2P before. By eliminating inconsistencies in its brand identity, the purpose of I2P becomes more clear and it reinforces the others, creating a virtuous circle of definition and confirmation of their identity.

Shaping the Identity

After our research, we concluded I2P’s identity in collaboration with the core team of the project: I2P projects confidence to at least a group of people who might be part of it, trusting their goal and vision. The personality of the brand contributes to sharing this common vision with the users. I2P has a cautious and vigilant personality. It is reasonably opinionated, with cautious optimism and responsible pessimism.

I2P has a rational personality, with an open and simple voice, making it friendly and approachable for a diversity of people. I2P should be usable by everyone. Its ideological and futuristic characteristics are and will continue to be a very important part of I2P personality, avoiding exaggerated claims and over-promises but staying true to what it aspires.

i2p book illustration

New Identity, New Looks

After defining the personality traits, it was time to apply these traits to the visual identity of the brand, starting with the logo. In I2P’s case, we deemed it was important to find the right balance in preserving the previous brand history of the proect over the last 17 years while still being able to provide a fresh start with a new identity.

The new logo has a modern and approachable glyph with elements that symbolize I2P’s technology, the tunnels, also pays tribute to the well-known mascot of I2P, “Itoopie”.

Link: I2P - Brand & Visual Identity: Graphic Assets

Browser Extension Ideation

The browser extension is a totally new direction we decided to take as we were exploring different mental models.
From previous research, we conducted for the I2P installation and setup process, the current approach resulted in plenty of usability issues. There were a lot of steps needed to get I2P to work. Users were expected to download a package installing the I2P launcher which would open a browser console that allows the user to connect over I2P. Our previous research showed that this was the main blocker for new users.

We quickly realized that anything reducing the number of steps required to get started would go toward wider adoption of I2P. New users should only have to install a browser extension. That way, users would have all the network control settings, I2P apps and services in one place, easily accessible with a simplified setup process.

i2p explorations

Browser Extension Experience

From a design standpoint, because the technology is quite old and uses specific terminology, we relied on familiar patterns as much as possible. New users would be struggling with concepts around routers, peers, and I2P sites. We made sure to replace this terminology with more familiar equivalents and used components and user flow approaches based on the latest trends, to make sure the patterns would be familiar to all users.

As always, knowing the whys and hows represent the core of our design process, so we applied it to the browser extension as well.

For who are we designing

– A power user, privacy advocate, journalist, censored user, activist…

i2p extension

Challenges and Decisions

I2P Browser Extension vs I2P Console

The state of the current console and the relationship between the console and the browser extension was a key discussion with the I2P team. We envisioned them as complementary. The extension serves as a quick way to access/setup I2P while the console on the other hand is a fully-featured interface that offers more options for control, configuration, and customization.

Functionalities vs space Considering the current console implementation and all the features I2P offers through it, it was quite challenging to compress all the content into a limited space that the extension offers. Together with users and stakeholders we carefully curated the content to make sure the users can access all core features directly from the console without compromise.

i2p browser

How we helped I2P

  • We helped I2P define the values and the mission of their brand, starting with “why?”.
  • We offered a new brand strategy and visual identity.
  • We helped I2P have a more approachable personality so it can reach not only those who understand the technology but also the people who share the same ideals and values.
  • We created a completely new approach to installing and using I2P
  • We shaped the user experience of I2P browser extension for Firefox.
  • We offered intuitive design and language that is adaptable to every user