'It's a queer playground': Jessica Walsh on the new brand for LQBTQ+ app, Lex
The brand direction is centred on the idea that Lex is a queer playground with a raw edge: a dynamic, ever-growing space that encourages users to explore authentic relationships with themselves, their city, and their community.
Lex grew from an Instagram account created by founder and CEO Kell Rakowski in 2017. The account mirrored old-school newspaper personal ads where the words folks used to describe themselves and others were more important than any selfie they took. After two years and 10,000 personals, Rakowski launched Lex as a lo-fi, text-centred dating app where queer people could be their unapologetic selves without facing censorship from major social media sites.
Since the app's launch in 2019, Lex has been perceived as a place to find queer romance but has also proven to be an essential tool for community building and friend-making. The rebrand by &Walsh aims to capture this shift in positioning and support Lex's new app features like group messaging.
A new whimsical, fluid logo for Lex is the defining factor of the rebrand. &Walsh founder Jessica Walsh told Creative Boom: "The original Lex logo did a great job conveying the app's connection to old-school newspaper personal ads, but as Lex shifts its positioning from a dating app to a social app, it was important to connect the logo to the idea of an ever-growing, queer playground. The whimsical strokes in each logo curve authenticate Lex's joyful personality. We intentionally connected each letter to the other, representing the fluidity and connectedness present in Lex's thriving queer community.
As a whole, the visual identity tells a story of growth, energy, and well-being, all while maintaining a raw edge. These brand attributes can be seen in the distinguishable main brand colour 'Lex Green', its complimentary colour palette of spring tones, and playful illustrations depicting flowers, flames, mountains, hearts, and stars juxtaposed with rough textures.
"We wanted to avoid using rainbow tropes and instead selected fresh 'spring' colours associated with growth, energy and well-being," said Walsh.
The spring-inspired aesthetic follows through in a suite of custom illustrations of flames, flowers, stars, mountains, and hearts, all creating a feeling of growing and blooming. The illustrations were designed to be easily combined to make new, playful compositions.
Words have always played a crucial role in how Lex functions for its users – from the early days of Lex founder Kell Rakowski's personal Instagram account, the empowering nature of being able to choose the right words to describe oneself, and the ability to find community-based on descriptors has been a crucial element of the Lex ethos.
To honour Lex's relationship to words as a means to self-describe and, therefore, self-empower, &Walsh created a messaging framework written by and for queer people. "We developed copy lines for custom stickers that are authentic to queer vernacular, which are available to users both on and offline to communicate pronouns, special interests, and more," Walsh said.
In addition to the brand assets, &Walsh developed a UX/UI toolkit as well as designed and developed Lex's desktop and mobile website. Lex users (warmly referred to as 'Lexers') helped inform design and development decisions by providing feedback on accessibility and usage to the Lex team. The desktop and mobile site now serve as a fresh introduction to the app and its main features and a gateway to the Apple App Store and Google Play for downloads.
In providing Lex with a more fluid, accessible brand, &Walsh has set the app up for the community growth it champions. Jessica Walsh summed it up, telling Creative Boom: "Lex's mission to create a welcoming and inclusive digital space for the LGBTQ+ community is one we admire and support. Their hands-on approach to this rebrand created a fulfilling collaboration where we shared the same passion and vision. This rebrand is pivotal for Lex as they shift its positioning to a queer friend-making and community-building app. Our trust in each other for this project was incredibly fulfilling – both as collaborators and as fans of the app."