Startup Palm Beach needed a bold, striking brand design that emphasized local entrepreneurship for their 2015 Startup Weekend. So they turned to a South Florida design firm called Perfect.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour race against the clock. Young entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to their peers and then team up to take the best of them from concept to reality in just a couple of days. They create business models, design, code, and come up with marketing, and then present what they’ve created to a panel of expert judges.

The event throws young entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds together so that they can exchange insights and know-how; they also receive guidance and input from experienced small business owners who encourage them to put their best ideas forward. Startup Weekend also attracts business owners, talent recruiters, and angel investors looking for the next big thing. It is without a doubt one of the premier networking opportunities for South Florida entrepreneurs.

“Perfect brings a vision for disruptive design and a passion for perfection to their projects”

For 2015, Startup Palm Beach wanted an inspiring and unique brand design that reflected the thriving entrepreneurial spirit of West Palm Beach. So they partnered with Perfect, a strategy and design firm founded by Mike Gonzalez. Perfect has its roots in South Florida but has grown to have a global reach, working with companies like Microsoft to help them unify their branding, technology, and UX design. “Perfect brings a vision for disruptive design and a passion for perfection to their projects,” says Mike Gonzalez.

“What if ‘local’ was the theme?”

The first step in the design process was discovery. Nick Mohnacky of Startup Weekend held a video conference call via Skype with Mike Gonzalez and Nick Pring, Perfect’s brand designer. Together they brainstormed ideas for a unique theme for Startup Weekend Palm Beach. Their conversation coalesced around the concept of small businesses.

“What if ‘local’ was the theme? Focusing on the market locally?” said Nick Mohnacky. They keyword ‘local’ resonated with everyone on the call, and they began to brainstorm around it.

“Whenever I think of local, I think of Clematis Street, those little buildings with awning after awning,” said Mike Gonzalez. “Little fashion boutiques and coffee roasters and things.” Having discovered the theme and with some basic ideas of how to approach it, it was time to flesh those ideas out.

“…this place really has the feel of being the town center.”

The second step in the process was brainstorming and collaboration: via emails and messages on a board, the team kicked around ideas, images, and colors; anything that inspired them about the idea of ‘local’. Nick Pring created a moodboard that captured their favorite concepts and colors. A motif of a cityscape began to emerge – but not just any cityscape; the team wanted to leverage the distinctive shapes of West Palm Beach’s skyline.

Mike Gonzalez took a camera downtown. “There is a stretch of Clematis Street between Quadrille and the waterfront that I wanted to capture,” says Mike. “During the day it is a bunch of independently owned small businesses, and during the night it transforms into a bar and club scene. Down at the waterfront is where Sunfest happens and the outdoor farmer’s market, so this place really has the feel of being the town center.”

Starting at the REGArchitects’ Building and then moving onto the Mandel Public Library down the street, where Startup Weekend would actually be held, Mike found a sequence of buildings with very distinctive architecture. Designer Nick Pring then took Mike’s photography and created clean, bold line drawings of the buildings on the street which stripped them down to their essence.

The third step in the design process was to iterate: Nick Pring sent concepts to Mike Gonzalez for his feedback. The refined versions were sent along to Nick Mohnacky. The last step was execution. When Nick Mohnacky gave his approval on the final design, Nick Pring went to work creating collateral for the design for applications like websites, t-shirts, social media, and even letterhead.

The new branding design has already been received a very positive response from the Startup Weekend community. “I believe great design comes from collaboration,” said Perfect founder Mike Gonzalez. “That’s why it’s so exciting to be working with Startup Weekend West Palm Beach, which uses collaboration to jump start entrepreneurs and their ideas.”

Mike Gonzalez is the founder of Perfect, and spends his time working with organizations to craft great experiences. Have a project you would like to collaborate with us on?