Case Study: Cloudflare Techlabs
Cloudflare Techlabs was an experimental project created by our counterparts in marketing and events. Starting in 2020, Cloudflare was hosting an increasing number of virtual roundtables, discussions, and larger-scale virtual events. Techlabs would be the hub for all of those events, where attendees could register for sessions, watch recordings of previous events, and see the variety of recorded video content that Cloudflare offered.
By virtue of these events being virtual – and therefore international – we needed to create a brand system that was flexible enough to add the names of specific regions, when appropriate, and work across multiple applications and platforms. Additionally, the final deliverables needed to include a library of templated versions of the logo, assets for the event platform, and social assets that could be updated by the marketing team.
As with any brand project, I began sourcing inspiration from the internet and, for this project in particular, looking to the recently-updated Cloudflare brand materials. In those materials, I found examples of blends created between lines, geometric or pixel references, and a constant sense of movement – all of which I wanted to experiment with during this initial phase.
Eventually, I narrowed my exploration work down to three unique concepts: one with a bold diagonal motif, one using a blended line concept, and a pixel-inspired concept. Using the logo lockups I’d designed, I then built out mockups showing how the logo would be used in combination with graphic elements on both the main events platform page and on the individual event pages. After receiving the green light for the line blend concept, I built that out into a library of editable assets and templates for the marketing team.
This was my first time working with On24, the events platform that Techlabs would be hosted on, and I quickly learned that I would have to tailor my designs to work within a strict set of constraints. In this case, I relied on color variations and bold graphic motifs to create interest and differentiate between event types, without relying on the flexibility from a custom layout to help categorize the site’s content.
The other significant hurdle was designing a lockup that could include region names ranging in length from “EMEA” to “The Americas” – I needed to account for visual balance despite the fact that copy would frequently vary. Midway through the design process,, the name also changed from “Cloudflare Labs” to “Cloudflare Techlabs,” adding another challenge in creating a balanced logo.
The final output of this process was a library of assets for the marketing team to use. It included the primary logo and variations for more than 15 regions with full/single color versions of each, a color palette, style guide, and an extensive set of digital asset templates: presentations, event homepage thumbnails, zoom backgrounds, and social promotion assets across multiple platforms.
Despite the fact that the design stage was completed, the assets weren’t put into use until after the end of my time at Cloudflare. However, the image above demonstrates a few instances of posts and landing pages that were created by the events marketing team using the asset library and guidance I provided to them.
Case Study: Cloudflare Connect
Prior to 2020, Cloudflare had hosted an annual in-person event called “Cloudflare Connect.” At Connect, Cloudflare would bring together executives, special guest speakers, and of course customers, to talk about the future of the web, innovations in the space, and what’s upcoming in networking and security.
2021 was the first year that I worked on Connect, and I was asked to create a new identity for this event. We wanted the brand to tie into Cloudflare’s existing look and feel, but also be a wholly-recognizable brand on its own. Once I developed the identity’s foundation, I’d then need to build out templates for marketing and to use on the event platform.
Similar to my process with Cloudflare Techlabs, I began by searching for ideas across the internet and diving into Cloudflare’s own brand materials. I ultimately curated my inspiration and ideas into 5 concepts to explore: “Liminal Spaces,” “Parts of the Whole,” “Moving at the Speed of Light,” “What Connects Us,” and “The Cloudflare Ecosystem.”
To present these concepts, I built a deck showing inspiration images and a short summary of each exploration, followed by a slide showing various logos, graphic motifs and patterns, and mockups of agendas and attendee gifts. The stakeholders decided they wanted me to move forward with concepts 2 and 5, polishing the logos and building the concepts out further so they could pick the final visual direction.
Process part 2
From there, I set to expanding the concepts I’d begun developing – “Parts of a Whole” and “The Cloudflare Ecosystem.” Since I’d already shown some of the basic building blocks of the identities in round 1, I wanted to demonstrate different applications in round 2, along with additional branded (physical) items that could be sent to attendees in advance. In doing this, I aimed to help stakeholders fully envision how the brand could be applied.
For each concept, I created 2 different versions of On24 (the event platform) landing pages and email templates using different variations of the original logo concepts and graphic motifs. From there, the stakeholders concluded the version of concept 2 I’d be expanding on and I set to building out the asset library and brand components.
An interesting challenge for Connect was that, in past years when Cloudflare had held physical events, there were many more applications to build on the brand and use a variety of design elements. The necessity of using an event platform with limited customization and creating easy-to-use templates for all of the digital assets created constraints during the design process.
I also needed to make sure the Connect branding wasn’t too extreme a departure from the core Cloudflare brand. As with Techlabs, the name for Connect also changed during the process, but we eventually returned to using “Connect” as the overarching event name.
This was the last major project I worked on at Cloudflare, and thus wasn’t able to participate in the roll-out or related marketing efforts. However, I was able to create an extensive set of templates – from digital social assets to graphic motifs and patterns to zoom backgrounds and presentation templates – which I then passed on to the marketing team to bring across the finish line in my absence.