LA Hacks is a student-run Hackathon at UCLA with over 1000 attendees, and the largest Hackathon in California. We wanted LA Hacks 2018 to stand apart from the typical rigid branding and message of usual hackathons–a voice that only pertains to engineering majors and those advanced in programming. Our team of Designers on LA Hacks 2018 had the goal to make it more collaborative and attract people who are traditionally afraid of the concept of hacking. We wanted to see an increase in project submissions and an increase in beginner level hacks.
Our main mission was summed in three words: Collaborate. Innovate. Educate.
Inviting and Friendly
Keeping our core values in mind. I lead direction on choosing a color palette and envisioning on the style guide for our material. We wanted our voice to promote collaboration and primarily create more hacks. Our light and colorful branding helped LA Hacks be inviting and collaborative.
Previous iterations of our style guide felt more focused on performance and strong products.
We then began thinking of mascots to represent levels and to make it even more approachable so we can actually have conversations with people. An incredible illustrator Kartik on our team drew these characters which represent the levels of programmers arriving at LA Hacks. They are also gender neutral and diverse and we decided to use them to connect with the hackers.
Designing the experience that brings the event to completion.
There were 4 shirt designs developed each easily identifiable and each with a unique character on the nape of the neck.
Did we succeed?
The first night, I went to many of the teams to learn about the 1000+ hackers and who they were. About half of them were first time hackers and felt that they were learning a lot and were really excited to build something for the first time. I talked to an Econ major, Design major and even Anthropology majors that have never thought about going to a hackathon before. I was talking to an Econ Major, Andrew, who had never attended a hackathon, found a team, attended workshops, and was able to win a prize in one of the categories.
Defining success might look ambiguous and unmeasurable but our team felt like we were able to encourage more new hackers. Next LA Hacks we hope to work more on our website UI and on branding to make it more of a grand event. Being the executive director of Creative Labs, I wanted to see more tech + design topics discussed at LA Hacks and this was something we lacked. This year we only had one creative agency come and speak, but next year we hope to have more panels and workshops related to building interactive experiences.