“Hello Aurora!”

Maria Margarida
Nest Collective Writing Wall
5 min readAug 30, 2016


After all this time, we finally have a name and a brand 💪🏼🎉. You guessed it, our project is now the Aurora app. And we want to tell you everything about how we got to this point!

It all started with the exercise that led us to the name “Aurora”. After an hour of brainstorming 🌩, we had covered nearly everything that could remotely relate to concerts and music. Afterwards, we tried to think of words that sounded good and were easy to understand (the first name of our project, ‘Pomegranate’, as smooth as it may sound, was not an easy word to write 🤔).

We made huge lists of words that were easy to pronounce, of cute animals that could resemble some kind of relationship with the concept, colors we liked, and so on. Then, we tried to see what they had in common and what we felt was relatable to what we were developing.

Who says engineers can’t do some branding? 😏

So, how did we come up with Aurora?

Essentially it was a phenomenon we easily associated with the colors and lights of concerts — it established, in a certain way, our “vibe”. Plus, it was an easy and pretty word, used in several countries 👌.

Once the name was chosen, we had to figure out the image to pair with it. And of course, the designers immediately started researching and drafting around it.

The first thing we explored was the identity of a sound. A concert is always a unique experience, and we thought about how we could translate that into something visual. So we decided to explore sound waves. First, we recorded the word “Aurora”, then the individual letters.

Different words have different visual representations
Experiences with the sound waves of the word aurora

During this process we realized that we weren’t going in the right direction. 😕 So we went back to figure out what was missing conceptually. 😶

There are 3 main actions we must value: collection, feedback and discovery. We only had discovery. We wanted something that was a reminder of collections, of connecting people… We agreed in one thing: music had a very esoteric side, as well as a very physical one. The act of writing a song, of playing an instrument, of going to a concert with some friends and family, of dancing,… all this is very tangible— just like collecting things is (for naming purposes, we even searched for animals that collected stuff). And that was exactly what was missing! 💡 The relationship between emotions and objects.

We found this potential in cassettes.

They represent collection in the best way possible. A few years ago, when someone loved a song, they wouldn’t simply download it on iTunes. And this was also a form of giving feedback to artists, back when social networks weren’t a thing. Plus, cassettes are a very important piece in the early history of mixtapes back when internet wasn’t a thing. So we went for it.

How our symbol was born

Colors and lettering

Once the icon was chosen, we started picking the colors and the typography. Inspired by the Aurora Borealis colors and multiple color studies, we fell in love with material’s Cyan, Teal and Deep Purple mixed together.

Color palettes and color theories tipically associated with each color

On one hand, we had a symbol that represented a rather old object, on the other we had a gradient that gave us a contemporary approach.

Finally, the typographic challenge! It was hard at the beginning, because we didn’t find the perfect match to Aurora’s logo, so we had to create our own font with special details. The lettering had to relate with the icon and concept.

Our first lettering experience

But this font was too customized and we decided we needed something smoother. We knew we wanted a font that was very geometric (the ‘O’, for example, should be a perfect circle, maybe with the same size of the smallest circle in the logo). We took a step back and started by looking at fonts like Brandon Grotesque and Asap.

Inspirational fonts

Our second attempt was something like this:

But even without the necessary adjustments, we realized there was missing a modern touch. When we showed this to one of our mentors, she said it reminded her of a mix between art nouveau and art deco. And we were developing a software that shouldn’t look outdated 💾 nor something historical.

We were back at it: adjusting, printing, drawing, adjusting some more.

By the end of the week, this is what we had:

We adjusted the x-height and weight. The higher x-height, along with taking out the R’s horizontal line, took way the lyrical proportions of the previous attempt. Also, we made the corners a bit sharper. By increasing the weight and including it in the logo’s grid, we were able to create a greater harmony between the symbol and the font.

Finally we had something we could all compromise with (even the engineers, whose opinion was quite significant throughout the whole design process 💙 ).

Final result

The final result



Maria Margarida
Nest Collective Writing Wall

Product Designer at @remote. Passionate about solving real customer problems and creating experiences that are easy to use. http://mariamargarida.me