BigRed//Hacks is Cornell's annual hackathon, where teams of students from across the world come to ideate, design, and "hack" together a tech-based project in just 2 days. As BRH's lead designer, I created a visual identity to help the event stand out among the crowded collegiate hackathon landscape.
Most universities brand their hackathons with minimal colors and simple shapes, so we (the BRH organizing committee) wanted this year's event to stand out from the crowd. The team and I voted on a set of possible themes and decided that "retro futurism" would be a fun theme to explore and a great way to create a memorable event.
Every year's theme needs a corresponding logo to go along with it. Building on our selected theme of "retro futurism", I compiled a list of posters and imagery that matched the vibe we were trying to portray.
I used the overarching patterns from the mood board as a starting point for the event's main logo and iterated from there. I opted for a warmer color scheme to better connect with Cornell's nickname ("Big Red") and refined the text's readability. My main goal was to give the graphic some oomph — like it's something you'd see during the opening scene of a big-budget retro video game or sci-fi film.
There was a lot of old sponsorship material floating around, but the designs were inconsistent and there was no quick way to differentiate between documents without opening them up. I applied our event branding and color scheme to the marketing materials, and added cover pages for improved glanceability.
I also created a series of social media card templates so the team can quickly post updates via Facebook/Slack during the hackathon. Even though our graphics have a lot of gradients/colors, it's not a problem since we only publish these cards digitally.
Our splash page is where students go to register for the event, so I updated the page to match the new branding for this year's event.
While designing the event's graphics, I also refreshed the branding for the hackathon organizing committee. Our brand represents us to sponsors and to the university, yet our logo situation was a mess. Some icons had rounded corners while others were straight, sometimes "Big Red Hacks" was in uppercase and other times in lowercase, etc.
I consolidated our branding into a set of consistent logos with three variations: vertical, horizontal, and icon-only. Our logo applications are usually quite narrow, so I reduced the overall width of the logo to keep text readable at smaller sizes. I also reduced the width of the icon so it fits nicely into the square container of social media avatars.