Never not creating
As a design team you’re always looking for new opportunities to expand what the brand can look and feel like.
When the R&D team at Hinge Health reached for a new look for their yearly hackathon, the team jumped on the opportunity to do something fun and unexpected.
A hackathon/hackfest is a popular term for exploratory sprint where people get to experiment with ideas that they might not always have time to in their day to day work.
While the term hackathon originated from the computer programming side of things, everyone at the company is allowed to join in and pitch their ideas. It’s not uncommon to see teams combining a diverse set of talents to cover different aspects of the idea, from designers introducing new UX patterns/designs to teams working on workflow optimization or overall company improvements that make updating and pushing the experience much easier for both users and employees.
So with all of this in mind, the design team aimed to create a theme that didn’t focus on a particular set of skills but rather explored the bigger idea we wanted participants to have in mind when exploring their ideas.
Although on a quick timeline, the design team took a moment to go their separate ways and explore individually what that bigger idea or visual thread could be. This little moment allows everyone to bring in their own unique perspective on the subject matter and present their potential ideas. Alongside this, we explored work previously done on company hackathons and also work that other design teams have put out.
Our goal was to present at least 3 concepts to the overall Hackathon team and see which ones people gravitate towards the most. Figma/Figjam was an essential tool as we created our joint moodboard.
As more and more pieces were added, we started to quickly start to see bigger themes pop up. We categorized these as following
1. Glitch - an approach that leaned into the future tech aspect of hackathon. As a subject matter it can feel a bit cliche in this particular context, and easily stray into the realm of “matrix walls of green code raining down”-space. That was something we tried to be mindful of and instead think of the glitch as more of opening an unexpected path.
2. Cosmic Vision - Different cultures and communities have different names for this idea, but we liked the almost spiritual approach in contrast to the techy vibes overall. Visually the concept pulled heavily in the psychedelic artwork from concert posters from the 60's and 70’s alongside a heavy pop of color overall. We liked that it felt like discovering something new beyond what you normally see, basically opening your third eye and breaking reality.
3. Breakthrough - the concept was built on a lot of editorial style visuals mixing collage pieces with photography to create a unique visual approach. A bit more scientific in look and feel but also elevated, the photographs would allow us a bit more serious tone while the cut collage allowed us playful patterns and layouts. A mixing of business and creativity.
After a few meetings internally, we decided to continue pursuing the Cosmic Vision theme as it not only was a more playful fun approach but also felt like a more unique solution for something that very often feels predictably techy. At this point the team split up again, allowing everyone to explore their take on the concept, honing in on what they felt like made it interesting. Everyone got a little space to get weird and explore, and try to find a balance between something unique that still felt like it could belong within the company brand space.
After some discussions we made our selection. The visual system for Hackfest 2022 was met with excitement and curiosity. It borrowed from the vintage psychedelic type work and put it in contrast to cleaner modern line work. The vibrant colors made it feel playful and exciting. The simplicity allowed us to easily expand on the idea and transition it to supporting materials such as swag, presentation decks and videochat backgrounds. All in all a great little design solution for a fun project. It created a playful setting for the presentation and made the hackathon experience a little bit more vibrant.