Trailhead: A New Look for a New Era in Learning

Trailhead is not just the fun way to learn. For us, it’s also a super fun brand to create design for. The look and feel has always been pretty paw-some, but, over time, everything design-y needs a new coat of paint. Now, here’s ours.

Trailhead, at its Trailheart (Trailhead plus Heart — our passion for all things Trailhead), is a platform that scales learning and makes it accessible to all. Since 2014, we’ve scaled the content, the community, and your learning adventures.

With you, our Trailblazers, at the center of everything, we dare ourselves to challenge the norm. That’s what makes the Trailhead brand so fun. And that’s why we decided it was time for a change.

From cyan to outer space

Five years ago, Salesforce looked different. We began to tell bigger stories, ushering in a terrific ramp up to the creation of the blue cloud logo you see today.

At the time, I lead creative for the Developer Marketing team and went to work creating a darker palette that would complement the blue cloud. A palette to represent a deeper connection to the community of devs who wanted to use tools that made their work lives easier.

For a time we called it Developer Blue and it became the signature element of the Developer brand.

Our original inspiration for Developer Blue came from the developerforce logo — we chose a darker shade to better complement the cyan of Salesforce blue.

We created artwork to inspire our developers with things like color explosions and outer space. Our very own mascot, Astro, started their first adventure as an astronaut, but that’s another story.

Bringing the brand to life

When Trailhead was launched at Dreamforce in 2014, everything got dark — in the best way. We had pops of color and fun illustrations to describe badges and trails.

We launched Trailhead with 11 badges and 3 trails.

Fresh off of the Dreamforce announcement, we went to work on bringing the Trailhead brand to life.

It was the antithesis of the stuffy office and the antidote to boredom, whereas the industry around us started to look the same. Same old connected lines, same stock photos, same techy stuff.

We didn’t want to be like everyone else. We decided then and there that Trailhead should be the fun way to learn. We thought, “Let’s take it outside!”

When you go outdoors, you are your best self. You take time to energize, reflect, and decide what you want and where you want to go. And we had inspiration all around us in our National Parks and Forests.

Keeping it weird

We also wanted to Keep Trailhead Weird. Make Trailhead special. Up the “fun” element in unexpected ways.

In fact, our Flogo (Fun plus Logo) was purposefully designed as a patch to fit perfectly on the now iconic black Trailblazer hoodie.

The creation of our hoodie is another fateful story!

The original Flogo incorporated our dark blue and the shape of a trail sign you would see on a hike. The mountains represented learning goals. The green was for prosperity. The blue sky stood for no limits.

The cloud and a trail in the shape of an “S” represented Salesforce. The ribbon with the word “Trailhead” stood for achievement. And the font? A crispy nod to the outdoors.

As well as being inspired by the outdoors, Trailhead has always been about fun, inclusion, and empowerment — a feeling that lifts you up.

Over time, this evolution led us to create the Trailhead Design Formula alongside the new Flogo.

Trailhead 3.0: The Trailhead Design Formula, our special recipe for fun.

A new direction

Now, unless you’re some kind of design legend, things usually change or get updated in time. We’ve experienced a huge amount of growth, with one fun patch (and a group of Salesforcelandian characters) at the center of it.

As we grew, we needed to support more programs. Everything started to look different.

We needed our identity to be more responsive and modern, and to look consistent across everything we do.

The challenge was to turn our fun patch idea into a real identity system.

The new direction, nicknamed “kaleidoscope” for its bold pop of color, is where we landed. The shape and the meaning are still there, but the logo now incorporates our love of line art and fits perfectly within the Salesforce Customer Success Platform.

My favorite is the full-color Flogo against a dark background — it incorporates a border that reminds me of our popular stickers and the outline you see on patches.

The mountains are now smaller and the snow caps have been removed to show that your goals are more attainable.

The Salesforce cloud is also gone (but it’s always nearby). Moving the cloud out of the Flogo opens up a world of beyond Salesforce to include the life skills you need to land a top job.

Our new Flogo is not only fresh (and brand-tastic!) but also full of Trailheart. And it fits well on swag across all of our programs, which is especially important.

This will be the first update to the Trailhead Hoodie… ever!

Let’s go have some fun

We’ve been busy in the Trailhead workshop, pouring our Trailhearts into this transformation as we refresh our design.

Looking back, we can see and feel how Trailhead has evolved: our Trailblazer Community, inspired. Our engagements, energized. Our events, colorful and fun.

And the best part is that you, our Trailblazers, have evolved too. Trailhead welcomes you to learn, every day, and helps shape the best you that you can be.

Check out our incredible Trailblazer stories to see how Trailhead is literally changing lives. Then shout out on social how Trailhead has transformed your life.

Happy trails!