Space Apps Challenge

Web Design
Art Direction

At Mindgrub, I had the privilege of designing the brand standards for NASA's Space Apps Challenge, as well as directing the design of the program's next-generation website and participant portal for the 2023 event year!

Once a year, thousands of science and technology-minded people of all ages, from countries around the world, come together online and in-person for NASA's Space Apps Challenge. Space Apps is a worldwide hackathon meant to foster innovative solutions to real-world challenges, using data collected and made publically available by NASA and its international space agency partners. The event's GO Team (Global Organizing) is a core team of organizers, myself included, who work diligently throughout the year to prepare for this one intense weekend, working closely with a larger team of local volunteers in each participating location as well as with public officials from NASA.

As art director and leader of the project's design team, I worked together with a team of two other UX designers to conduct workshops and interviews with GO Team members, local organizers, and event participants and to rebuild the project's user experience from the ground up, in a way that addressed the needs of a very diverse group of users from all around the globe.

Updating a Brand

For a decade, Space Apps has used a number of logos, all variations on a common theme using a "comet" motif, but never reliably documented for consistent use across all media. Because of the event's distributed nature, local event organizers often created custom versions of the logo. For 2023 and beyond, Space Apps sought to "pave the cowpath" when it comes to localization, and establishing a consistent rules for the hackathon's overarching logo and brand. Much more was also covered by the new brand guide, establishing rules for color usage, contrast requirements, typographic hierarchy, and image and illustration usage, plus much more.

A spread from the Space Apps Challenge brand guide.

Rebuilding a Platform

Space Apps' online presence went far beyond just a marketing website. Participants in each event are able to interact with local and global Space Apps communities via the event's online participant portal. During the event they are able to use the portal to submit their projects, have them judged, and find out which projects won each of the ten global awards.