Late 2014 – 2015

Rebranding

Transitioning ChallengePost to Devpost

Problems to solve

1. ChallengePost wasn’t just about challenges.

ChallengePost started as a place for online competitions of all topics: videos, apps, recipes, ideas, etc. Later it was limited to challenges that resulted in software. As the scope of our products widened, our offering of “online challenges and in-person hackathons” (not to mention new products like portfolios) became difficult to communicate with our inflexible name.

2. Despite new product offerings, users only knew us as the place for software competitions.

Through various research methods (metrics, weekly user interviews, and user testing) we determined that users thought we only offered software competitions. We could continue to make product changes to prioritize portfolios and other new features, but our name was holding us back from fully communicating our value.

Goals

  1. Develop new company name options for our CEO to decide on.
  2. Design a visual identity that supports and enhances the new name.
  3. Plan and execute a “big reveal” of the rebrand over the summer months, in preparation of the upcoming fall hackathon season.

Process

Myself and a marketing team colleague formed the rebrand task force. We worked together to bring this project from concept to completion.

Pre-rebrand

Brainstorming

The entire team was excited for the rebrand and eager to share their ideas. I led several brainstorming exercises to get everyone involved and facilitate a group discussion.

  1. Inspiration – I suggested each employee provide examples of brands that resonate with them, and examine why. We discussed how to achieve similar accomplishments with our rebranding.
  2. In your own words – Our team knew our company’s mission, product, voice, and value better than anyone else. So I questioned how they’d like to see this materialize in an outward facing brand. What should our new angle and positioning convey to the world?
  3. Name ideas – I invited anyone to share new name ideas, and explain why that name was a good fit. How does it represent our brand? The “why” behind the concept was critical.

Solution

Name

Our CEO was presented with 16 new name options and rationales for each. I favored the more playful options that incorporated the word “hack” to resonate with our audience of young hackers who used that title with pride. Some of my favorites:

The desire to maintain some connection to our old brand by using the word “post” won out, and the name Devpost was selected.

Visual identity

With the name decided, I began experimenting with a new visual identity: logo, icon, color palette, and typography.





The 3 final logo contenders

Color palette explorations with the selected logo option

It was a tough decision, with strong opinions from various team members about each option. Our CEO decided upon the final version: the hexagonal interpretation with a blue/green color scheme:

Completed Devpost branding

I developed a style guide to help our engineering team apply the new look to our site. Implementation of the rebrand was a huge undertaking, and the team did an incredible job delivering. This blog post details the technical process.

Lastly, I completely redesigned our homepage to reflect the new look and officially communicate our new mission and offering to our users. I also took this opportunity to make a few adjustments to the project page layout.

I had fun learning CSS animation to imitate scrolling for the feed image on the new Devpost homepage. Click to view full page.

Project detail page with new branding applied and updated layout. Click to view full page.

Lessons learned

Get input, but keep it structured

I made it a priority to gather suggestions from the whole team, but avoid it becoming a free for all. Most people don’t have experience with branding, so guiding the brainstorm process with specific exercises and questions made the sessions more productive. I also set clear expectations for each part of the process. There was no guarantee suggestions would be incorporated into the final product, as this wasn’t “design by committee” – the most popular idea wouldn’t necessarily be selected.

Organize, communicate, repeat

This project was a company-wide endeavour. We kept things running smoothly with a Trello board to document the engineering team’s work, and Google docs for the rest of us. We noted who was in charge of what task, set deadlines for milestones, and had regular check in meetings. There’s no such thing as over communicating with a project this vast.