Innovation Hub at UF
They help startups become businesses. We helped their business become a brand.
The University of Florida’s Innovation Hub was busily developing a steady line of high powered, viable startup companies, many of whom go on to great success. Graduates and Residents spoke about the power of mentorship, endless opportunities for growth, and the inspiration that comes from proximity to other brilliant minds. Meanwhile, the Gainesville community was perplexed by the Hub’s purpose. What goes on in that monolithic building? Is it a UF research center? Is it a dorm? And what does “Innovation” mean, anyway?
There were a number of other startup incubators in Gainesville already, and as the most robust choice, The Hub needed a way to stand out. Their website was gray and desolate, and the only way to acquire information seemed to be by walking in the doors and asking questions. So that’s what we did. We worked in the Innovation Hub for weeks, talking to visitors and residents, asking questions and absorbing stories. We learned first hand what startups have to go through on the road to success, and we learned how well the Innovation Hub prepares its residents to be ready. Ready to pitch, talk to VCs, organize their company, set budgets, and stay humble through victories. Most of all, we learned who needed to know about that and more importantly, why they should care.
We sought to provide a flexible identity system that reflected The Innovation Hub’s culture, goals and spirit. Although the Hub’s well-rounded method for grooming successful startups was gaining national renown, its public image was simply a physical building rather than a vibrant program and community of entrepreneurs. We set to change that through strong imagery, quotes and an intuitive site structure.
Photography was the clearest way to give life to the stories we were hearing. We embedded ourselves in the Hub and documented what we saw. We watched real people interacting and sharing ideas. We sought to bring the human element of the Innovation Hub to the surface and to further distance the identity from that cold building with which it was previously aligned.
We wanted to emphasize the youthful speed of startup culture through a bold yet carefully nuanced color palette. Cobalt and Orange notes hinted at the UF connection, while Teal and cool gray referenced the vibrant, fast-paced startup culture and the building’s own internal color fields. Angular and geometric typography, flat fields of color, and careful interactive animations play on the notion of collisions, with several components of the site combining to make a stronger whole. Geometric icons, flat planes and line based textures keep reinforcing that connection to the architecture of the place, while expanding the visual language of the brand.
When you step inside the Innovation Hub, you’ll find a bustling hive of passionate engineers, mentors, entrepreneurs, problem solvers and thought leaders. They have a great track record— internationally known for creating more than 750 jobs, bringing in $50 million in investment, and lofting highly successful and tenacious startups like Shadow Health, Feathr and MYOLYN.
These folks are amazing, and we continue to work with the Innovation Hub to foster their growth and development.