Designing for WiCS

By Amy Liu

As a co-lead of Marketing for Stanford’s Women in Computer Science group, I’ve had the chance to work with my team over the last year and redefine the organization’s overall branding. We’re excited to share some of our design process and reflect on what we’ve learned so far.

Old, hand-drawn WiCS logo (above and below)

Design as a reflection of our core values

One overarching goal we had was to make our marketing and branding materials reflect WiCS’ core values, which focus on building and strengthening the community of women in CS and technology. Previously, WiCS used a pastel color scheme and a hand-drawn style logo.

We decided to update the color palette to make it brighter and richer and we simplified the logo to an abstract, but recognizable {w}. Both of these changes made our designs more bold and modern, which was consistent with our message of empowering women. We decided to keep our main color as WiCS’ signature purple to stay true to our roots, but deepened it to a warmer and sophisticated plum shade:

New WiCS logo (above)

Design to build community

We also believe that design itself can be used to foster community. This year, WiCS introduced a general membership program to encourage more students to engage with WiCS events and initiatives. We made it a priority to work with all of the other teams in WiCS in order to create a cohesive visual identity for the organization as a whole:

Case study: “This is what a Computer Scientist Looks Like” sticker

Brainstorming WiCS stickers

I wanted to apply these principles to increase the WiCS presence on campus and make computer science more inclusive. After brainstorming with my team, we decided we would come up with a fun sticker that students would be able to distribute and display on their laptops and notebooks.

I started with the concept of “This is what an engineer looks like” and played around with it on paper. I liked the idea of using slanted text to convey a sense of movement and make the design more dynamic and playful, so I added a ribbon to frame the words.

I brought the design into Sketch and created a few mockups with different color schemes. At this point, I also worked with my teammates to refine the wording. Although we initially started with “engineer,” we decided that was too broad and wanted the message to be more tech-focused. We also considered “software engineer,” “programmer,” and “computer scientist.”

We polled the rest of the WiCS board and eventually settled on “computer scientist” as being most aligned with our organization’s mission and values. After some more tweaks to the type and the sizing, here is the finalized design:

Looking ahead, I’m excited to continue working with WiCS to shape our organization’s visual identity as the group evolves. Our team strives to use design to bring people together and promote the growing community of women in tech.

Amy Liu is a junior at Stanford studying computer science. Amy is particularly interested in design because she is passionate about creating rich and meaningful experiences between people and the technologies they use. She also enjoys rock climbing, sketching, and drinking tea.

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