As sociopolitical tensions began rising around 2016, my friend and I frequently found ourselves deep in conversation about representation and intersectionality. Frustrated witnessing how quickly society was regressing, we decided to record these discussions as a podcast.

My role

Creative direction for brand and podcast production

Headphones, microphone, and iPhone with Brownly podcast playing on brown backdrop
Red triangle graphic

Stories and experiences

The podcast needed to provide both catharsis and upliftment. Some of the topics we wanted to discuss were heavy, so bringing in some lightheartedness and laughter was a must. As American-born children of South Asian heritage, we would focus on the stories and experiences of minorities and marginalized groups. We would tell jokes, laugh, argue discuss, and celebrate our differences and the overall human condition.

Sample the podcast.

We touch on topics like the fear of creating, proper name pronunciations, and minority representation.

Starting from roots

Coming from Pakistani households, we both grew up speaking two languages: English and Urdu. So before we even settled on the name Brownly, it was a given that the branding would need to reflect our cultural roots.

We wanted to incorporate the Urdu script in way that was clear but not tacky. I began writing out the name in the Nastaliq script because of its embellishments and flourishes. When it came time to incorporating that style into the Roman English lettering, it started feeling cheap and almost caricaturesque.

I then played around with the Kufic script - a blocky, geometric style. The thick lines and sharp edges of the Kufic script integrated nicely into the Roman English characters keeping the letterforms legible, while retaining essence of the Urdu script. The final the element to help tie it back to our heritage was adding nuqtas (diacritic marks) to the characters whose Urdu counterparts require them.

Brownly logo evolution from sketches to final forms
Photo of Urdu books, pencils, and preliminary sketches of Brownly logo in English and Urdu
Brownly color palette swatches: browns, whites, and aquas

The Brownly sound

Using Audiotool, I created the instrumental and synth beats. I then brought them into Adobe Audition to put everything together and master the track. The result was theme music that I think captured the musical tones of our South Asian roots and our American upbringing. You can listen to it below along with some clips from the show.

Brownly theme music

Throw on some headphones and listen to the track — let me know what you think!

A simple website

We wanted the website to be simple and serve only two funcitons: let people know where they could listen to the podcast, and tell people who we are and what the podcast was about.

I created geometric pattern reminiscent of Islamic architecture based on nuqtas from the logo to expand the visual language. These diamond shapes of different sizes and colors also represent the unique voices and perspectives we wanted to highlight.

Brownly website on iPad
Brownly website on iPhone

We hit pause.

Sometimes, life gets so hectic that a great idea needs to take the backseat. Between our full-time jobs, conflicting afterwork schedules, and living over 1,500 miles away from each other, we couldn't come up with a schedule to produce episodes regularly.

We’ve had to put Brownly on an indefinite hiatus. Who knows — maybe one day soon we’ll get back to it? Never say never...

Brownly podcast on iPhone app


I really hesitated adding this project to my portfolio. As of now, Brownly is still just a concept. So why am I highlighting it?

It’s simple: I’m proud of what we created, and I learned some great lessons in the process.

  1. Simply hitting record doesn't turn your conversation into a podcast - preparation and editing make a world of difference. It takes a lot of effort to make something seem effortless.
  2. Your voice is your voice, and it needs to be appreciated. I'm starting to get over the uncomfortable feeling of hearing myself on a recording.
  3. When you share a close, personal project with someone, it's easy for you to feel like it's straying from your vision. Keep an open mind with your teammate(s) and don't hesitate to voice your concerns. And don't assume that it has to be exactly as it was in your mind: let it evolve naturally.
  4. No matter how great of a listener you are, you can always be better.
  5. I've always loved setting up my own product photo shoots, so doing all the photography for the podcast was exciting.
Red audio interface with Brownly logo on top

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