UP Global’s design team is tasked with visually communicating how and why UP Global works. Not just by what colors are chosen, or by the shape of a logo, but by giving each program an identity that ties it to the whole organization.
Design is so simple, it’s complicated. Companies have tried and failed to visually tell their story and provide a clear brand narrative. With months of hard work behind us, and even more ahead, we hope UP Global’s design will help take your events and impact to the next level.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
– Steve Jobs
UP Global is the overarching parent brand and underlying foundation of all activity within our organization. Programs like Startup Weekend, Startup Next, and Startup Education, while important on their own, must be built upon a stable foundation to have longevity.
This system reflects the way our community operates: We all lead unique programs, events, and local efforts, but we come together under one entrepreneurial movement and share many common goals for bettering our own communities and the world as a whole.
This brand structure and hierarchy is called a ‘House-Blend’. This is an architecture based on sub-brands with added credibility coming from the parent brand. Each program has unique offerings and benefits, yet are connected by visual cues and a similar naming structure. By using this system, we can not only house all programs under the UP brand, but connect them in a way that adds recognition and trust.
Our logo is the flagship element of our brand and one of the most visible elements in our identity system. This mark provides a universal signature across all UP Global communications, necessitating meticulous care and consideration when using it.
When creating a new brand for one of UP’s programs, the design team asks four key questions: Does the logo represent the core values of the program? Will the subject matter be universally recognizable? Does it fit within the brand system? And lastly, is it aesthetically pleasing?
Here are some quick descriptions of the meaning behind each program logo:
Startup Weekend: The Startup Weekend logo represents two fundamental elements of the program; the beaker, which speaks to the creative aspect while the figures inside represent the importance of team. However, the real soul of the brand lies in its interactive qualities. Much like the version before it, the Startup Weekend brand was created to be used and built upon. One look at the event t-shirt wall in UP’s Seattle HQ says it all. Image after image created using the logo – tweaked to represent individual community personalities. This is where the heart and soul of this identity system lies.
Startup Next: If Startup Next’s logo could be summed up in one line, it would be: helping your startup find the direction it needs. The logo uses a rocket – an iconic image known well in the entrepreneurial community, but gives it a fresh twist by combining it with a compass rose – a representation of finding direction. These two elements work together to create a mark that can grow and evolve along with the leading global pre-accelerator – Startup Next.
Startup Digest: Startup Digest’s branding combines the image of a mailing stamp and a newsletter in one cohesive mark. The logo was created to be an efficient, readable anchor for the brand, aimed at communicating the brand’s evergreen, core elements.
Startup Education: When looking for something iconic to represent the spirit of both entrepreneurship and education, our design team kept coming back to the same answer; the lightbulb is a globally understood icon for thought, ideas, and innovation – the “ah-ha!” moment present in both entrepreneurship and education . On the other end of the mark is the pencil. Not only is this a recognized icon of education, it puts the thoughts and ideas of the light bulb into action, which is evocative of the entrepreneurial spirit.
The design team is continuing to roll out updated branding for older programs as well as new branding for Startup Week and Entrepreneurs Across Borders.