Branding the Innovation Center Silicon Valley.
One of the projects I was able to work on while working at SAP was designing department banners for the Innovation Network. After attending a talk by another design team at SAP, my manager realized we didn’t have any for our team, and he wanted some to be created for when they went to conferences and road shows, and to simply decorate the space.
I was asked to create more than one option; I opted to design a cleaner, more universal banner, as well as a “fun”, people-centric banner to represent the diversity of the team.
The major inspirations behind the more universal banner were:
Big Data & the Galaxy
Big Data is an integral part of SAP’s enterprise software. SAP HANA is one of their best-selling products, and is a highly efficient and secure cloud database. Data is often visualized by neural networks and nodes, which with a bit of extrapolation and imagination, often start to resemble outer space. Although my perception of the universe is heavily romanticized, the galaxy is often presented as endless and boundless, which are features also present in Big Data.
While I was mainly situated in the ICSV, or the Innovation Centre Silicon Valley, there are other Innovation Centers across the world. Therefore, to tie into the outer space theme, the “constellations” were in fact ICN locations, mapped and transformed in different ways.
A second, extra banner was also created:
In the past, I had seen several hackathon sites lean towards this direction to emphasize playfulness and freedom of expression. Whereas the first banner leaned more towards the department and projects as a whole, this banner was inspired by the freedom and diversity of the people at the ICSV, as well as the fun we had working together.
This is the growth of the main banner.
Multiple rounds of feedback and iterations were conducted around the office, by printing out the banner at various stages and then going around the office to ask if there was anything didn’t fit with the banner.
Initially, people felt that the design didn’t fit in with the logo, and that certain elements should be shifted and recoloured. The colour of the circles and the red lines did not have anything to do with the Innovation Center colours; by changing the colour scheme to be more cohesive, it solidified the brand and image of the department. The one on the far right is the final version.
As for the second banner; while the former was met with favourable feedback, this one was met with mixed reviews because it was very much love it or hate it. Despite the motto of the ICSV being "pushing boundaries", we weren't sure if this was pushing it too much (SAP was still an enterprise software company, after all). It was created with the three main subsections of the ICSV in mind—engineering, business, and design, and then fused together (4 quadrants). Ultimately, while this was also designed, to my knowledge, it has not been printed yet.
While this was not my first banner or print project, this was the most rewarding one I had done so far. I learned a lot of things regarding print design; while this may seem like common sense, the stipulation of precise measurements and understanding print requirements was paramount, especially because this was physically large as well as monumentally representative of my department.
Understanding printed material from a user perspective is very different from understanding usability from an interactive perspective, and it was interesting to see how people would perceive my design as it was instead of trying to find affordances or CTAs across the screen.
I don’t aim to focus my concentration on printed materials, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would like to explore it more in the future.