Rebranding UBC Launch Pad
2018 - 2019
UBC Launch Pad is a leading student-run software club based at the University of British Columbia devoted to building applications in a collaborative and professional environment.
Timeline: September 2018 - May 2019
Team: Vita Chan, Vivian Lam, Peijia Ding (For the first iteration)
Role: UX/UI Design Lead in charge of club rebranding.
- Rebrand the club and establish new branding guidelines
- Redesign the website
- Update all marketing assets (social media posts, sponsorship package, slide decks, etc
An Outdated Brand
Launch Pad’s website hadn’t been updated for 3 years which was especially noticeable because the people in the landing page video had all graduated by the time I joined. The current website also had its share of problems that our design team needed to tackle.
A Rocky Beginning
I was appointed as Design Lead based on previous leadership and visual design experiences, but hadn’t actually been through the process of designing user interfaces. I was maybe a graphic designer, or illustrator, but never received the mentorship needed to become a UX/UI Designer. Thrown into the role without a good grasp on the fundamentals of the design process, our team of 7 new designers went through a big detour trying to deliver a new brand.
We tried to jump straight into the brand’s colours and referred to Behance and Dribbble for guidance instead of consulting existing members for their thoughts on Launch Pad as a community. Our lack of understanding towards Launch Pad’s identity was evident in our first website iteration below:
Since we adopted this style without consideration for its applicability to Launch Pad’s identity, the design looked like an amalgamation of 2018’s design trends. We weren’t designing with intention.
At this point, our team had already redesigned most of the marketing assets--even if the brand didn’t feel quite right, was it really worth restarting?
Yes, it absolutely was, because:
- The brand didn’t speak towards UBC Launch Pad’s identity and core values
- The website flow’s improvement could be built upon for our new design
The Re-Rebranding Process
At this point, the majority of my team went onto their summer internships or travels so I decided to take matters in my own hands using the lessons we learned over the school year to tackle our branding problem once and for all. Here’s how it went.
1 Understanding Our Identity
At its core, Launch Pad brings students who are passionate about technology together. With “Launch Pad” as its name and a spaceship for a logo, it made sense to pursue something space related. This helped me see Launch Pad members as teams of astronauts exploring the limits of technology, at which point I was ready to delve into the mood board.
2 Mood Board
I looked for images that conveyed how otherworldly, dreamlike, and surreal technology can be. Galaxies and bright screens alike could be represented by neon colours over dark backgrounds.
I wanted to create illustrations that complemented the mood board while conveying UBC Launch Pad’s community of students passionate about technology. I started with a few sketches before vectorizing them into illustrations. Highlights of my process and the final results are below!
Being able to play around with the illustration colours actually helped me establish the final branding. This set of illustrations provided the coherence and consistency that gave me the confidence to establish Launch Pad’s new branding guideline.
4 Brand Guideline
Most of our marketing material would be designed in our dark theme, but I wanted an alternative “Light” version of the brand for text-heavy assets such as sponsorship packages or hiring packages.
The website is live here!
Having that distinct illustration style and branding made it really simple for us to put together marketing content. Shown below are two recruitment posts for Instagram and Facebook!
The sponsorship package was updated 3 times! It was rebranded once using our first rebrand attempt, then superficially again to use our new colours before being completely redesigned for brand consistency and readability.
Since 2015, our swag process has been to print our logo and name onto some hoodies and shirts and call it a day. We order new swag each year, and it felt like a wasted opportunity reprinting the same thing time and time again. I wanted to design something that was specific to that year and that included a piece of each team.
I sketched out 2 options:
We went with option 2 because:
- Option 1 associated a person and gender with each role
- Option 2 is unique to that school year and represents each team equally
We got the design embroidered and our team appreciated the personalized nature of the swag this year for how it created a sense of unity among our members!
After rebranding, I returned as Co-President and focused my energy on incorporating the UX design process within each of our project teams (Read about my experience here). Ultimately, having this established brand to refer to helped me create marketing content quickly, allowing me to spend more time on improving the design team experience for our members.
Are you curious about what UBC Launch Pad is up to nowadays?
Visit the website at: https://ubclaunchpad.com/