Branding, print design

SAP ICSV - branding SAP's Innovation department

"I want banners to represent SAP's Innovation Center Silicon Valley," said my manager, Peter, one day. "Something big, something that represents us as a team, and something that I can show at talks and bring around for conferences, something to simply decorate the space. Let's make banners."

The research & concept

I was given a number of constraints, such as what information needed to be on the banner (the logo and contact details), as well as the size for the printing company. The rest was up to my teammate and I, whom I worked with briefly to brainstorm and iron out requirements.

I was particularly inspired by:

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.

ICN locations

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.

Planning out requirements and braindumping potential ideas.

SAP ICSV is not the only Innovation Center in the world. Here I looked mixed and matched ways to connect the various locations to create "constellations".

I experimented with creating a second banner. This one was heavily inspired by Memphis Print, which I had seen spun and modified by various hackathon sites (to emphasize playfulness and freedom of expression). My main source of inspiration was to turn to the people of the community and try to model facets of what we do into the banner.

The feedback

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.

The iterations on the main banner. The version on the far right is the final one.

Reflection

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.

While not in my typical scope of projects, seeing this come to life and working more within the visual design realm was both fun and challenging. As far as I know, the department still uses the banner, and I hope to explore more printed projects in the future.

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