Branding a Hackathon
The experience and the takeaways
First of all, it’d be extremely misleading to state that I branded this hackathon. This hackathon was a baby brand of all the minds at RoboVITics.I was merely a part of the team that visualized the ideas the team dreamt. However, I had crucial learning cues to take from this hackathon, and I’ll share them with you in this blog, however, allow me to first elucidate what this hackathon was all about.
Cosmos 360 was a 24-hour event, where participants had to come up with the solutions to a bunch of space-related problems using Computer-aided design.
The super cool people at Autodesk decided to sponsor the event, with the caveat that the tool allowed is Fusion 360, the new shiny tool by Autodesk.
Fair enough, we got a horde of blood-thirsty participants.
But mine and the marketing team’s concern was one -How do we make the dopest event in all of GraVITas — the tech fest of VIT, look like one.
So we sat down and ideated a bunch of solid ideas for the hackathon and how to brand it.
Commit to a style
Cosmos started with me sending a draft logo to the design team, they liked it, it was flat icons and text, and it looked like this.
These were the core visuals, the rest of the hackathon was completely dependent on these visuals- be it the stickers or the awards or the posters or the certificates. So decide where you want to start. There were about 30 drafts I had for my first logo before I decided on this. The aligned, slightly retro yet modern feel of the logo stuck, although I tended to make mostly very modern posters for the rest of the event. This was also in accordance with the kind of visuals Autodesk had. Check out the Fusion 360 logo, there are two variants, the flat and the 2000s style logo. But the core visual is still the child of flat and modern design -and that gelled really well with the idea I had in mind.
Thus, the takeaway:
Don’t start off in a style you know wouldn’t be consistent after a few rounds of publicity-you have to keep your design vocabulary in mind. Give enough time to your logo and your first poster. Trust your gut, you’re a designer- trust yourself.
Don’t be intimidating
Hackathons are intimidating -the very idea of being within four walls with extremely talented people is scary. It’s very important to not let things get too tense, you need to keep your palate colorful yet tasteful. Which means the website shouldn’t look like it you corrupted the CSS file, yet it shouldn’t be filled with animations, that sweet spot is needed. There is going to be a significant amount of information on your webpage, you need a team of editors (shout-out to the editorial team@RoboVITics for doing a beautiful job at Cosmos with this) to help you keep it short. Be fresh- with colors, with phrases that stick. Here with another of our workshop, “Hands on Robotics”, I played around with blue and white, and it came out better than I expected.
To me, it made robotics (which was super-intimidating to me in my freshman year) a little more approachable. We did pretty well, despite the fact that it one of the less affordable events during GraVITas ‘18.
Relieve the tension, make hackathons and events more approachable.
Keep a track of what you make, keep a zip file ready with every possible resolution, every variation of logos in every possible format, with an excel sheet stating dimensions, color model and DPI. Keep in touch with your printing partners. Posters, invitations, logos, stickers, standing banners, banner-everything-neat and tidy. The website should be secure, payment portal trustworthy, simple, approachable websites.
keep it all together.
Keep it simple.
And that’d be all.
If you want any more help, I’m here to help you out.