VP, Creative for IDEAA, a nonprofit providing tech education


An brand identity to fit an updated mission and potential


Understanding the grassroots culture of the team and its community


Its flexibility enabled the group to explore new event concepts; the professional characteristics fostered trust with partners, sponsors, and new fans

Android BBQ, Inc., responsible for the annual tech convention of the same name, entered 2015 with a heavy question: Why are we for-profit? Does it really fit our mission? After weeks of heavy debate, the team decided it didn’t. So to begin the season, Android BBQ, Inc. was dissolved and a new 501c(3) called the International Developer Education and Advocacy Alliance (IDEAA) was formed. Its goal was to bring software developers of all skill levels together with organizations that value tech education. IDEAA turned to me to help them create a brand identity that matched their new freedom.

Research & inspiration

As part of the team and the larger community, I knew the outcome had to connect with fans and partners alike. The Big Android BBQ event grew from its (literal) backyard roots on the kinship over mobile technology. The spirit of sharing interests and knowledge was key to the event’s - and IDEAA’s - success. After discussing this with community members and the IDEAA team, I drafted and presented three initial directions based on those values:

Direction 1: Act Small, Think Big

Celebrate the local, accessible mindset of IDEAA’s efforts. Embody the feeling of each attendee as they think of possibilities nearby and across the world. Use light-hearted color, simple shapes, and fun photography to convey connection and wonder. View the moodboard.

Direction 2: Tinkerers Unite

Focus on the can-do-together attitude attendees cultivate at IDEAA events. Showcase the spirit of breaking, building, and exploring. A “maker movement” design that’s authentic, human, and filled with passion. View the moodboard.

Direction 3: Celebrate Connection

Discuss code as a language of ideas, connection, art, and story. This digital language brings the world closer together and conveys more meaning than any before it. Create the concept through warm and cool color combinations, generative and abstract graphics, and infographic structures. View the moodboard.

IDEAA’s leadership reviewed the directions and eventually decided Act Small, Think Big fit the organization’s spirit and aspirations.


Sketched explorations for IDEAA
Sketchbook exploration sample

The next few weeks were spent exploring the logo. As an acronym, IDEAA’s name was an obvious candidate for a lettermark. Initial sketches and vectors used capital letters to promote an institutional character, but over time the direction changed to lowercase to enhance IDEAA’s accessible and inviting nature. Eventually a set of building blocks were discovered that shaped the logo’s final structure. Code, at its core, is represented as 1s and 0s. This binary system built the letterforms of the acronym and provided a secondary element for the identity to grow with.

IDEAA lettermark construction
Lettermark construction

Positive, “happy” colors were chosen to balance the strong geometric shape of the logo. Orange was picked as the primary color, representing both the energy of IDEAA’s team and mission and the fun, approachable of its projects. Patterns of the colors were designed to help branded applications feel inclusive and inviting. Type choices were influenced by the lettermark’s design. Avant Garde Gothic was picked for its bold but positive character, and Roboto for IDEAA’s Android-heavy focus.

IDEAA logo
IDEAA logo
IDEAA type and color guide
Type and color guide


The IDEAA team was thrilled by the fun, quirky nature and finalized it with few changes. We quickly built collateral for the launching social channels and worked with developers to launch a lightweight website to showcase upcoming events. The in-person nature of IDEAA’s work meant business cards, lanyards, wristbands, event swag, and more. The community enjoyed the design’s positivity, and its professional confidence helped the organization connect with new and larger partners.