The process of rebranding everything
Where we started
Venture capital has a bad rep for being homogenous in their team, portfolio founders, and branding.
We wanted Hustle Fund to reflect our unique team and values.
So we opted for bright colors and playful icons… like hippos and minivans.
Eric, GP at Hustle Fund, hired design agency Altalogy to bring our wacky new vision to life.
For a more in-depth look at the re-brand process, watch this interview with Eric and the Altalogy design team.
Step 1: Who is Hustle Fund?
The Altalogy team drilled Eric at their initial kick off call:
- What makes Hustle Fund different?
- Who are you trying to attract to the website?
- What does success look like over the next 10 years?
The goal of this exercise was to help Hustle Fund understand what’s important to us so that Altalogy could bring our vision to life.
Our team is kind, intelligent, and straight-up weird.
Elizabeth Yin uses a kooky background in her Zoom meetings because she loves hippos. Janel Spilker has a stuffed giraffe that’s visible in all her Zoom meetings.
Kera is addicted to cookies. Shiyan loves her dog, Toast. Brian works out of a tiny shed in his backyard.
The Hustle Fund team is made up of unique people and we wanted our brand to reflect this uniqueness.
We believe great founders (and investors) can look like anyone
We often bet on founders who are overlooked by traditional venture funds.
We are also on a mission to make investing accessible to people from all walks of life.
These missions meant our digital experience had to be inclusive and inviting to all types of founders and investors.
We want to educate millions of founders
Our goal is to be a fantastic education company as much as a VC fund.
This means our newsletters, including the one you’re reading now. Our founder’s blog. Our YouTube channel.
We needed our website to include infrastructure to best support this goal.
Step 2: Creating a mood board
The Altalogy team took all of Eric’s responses and created a mood board: a digital collage with all their ideas.
Notice the 80s retro vibes and pixelated art. 😎
Eric took this to the Hustle Fund team for feedback.
While everyone had an opinion, Eric took on the role of benevolent dictator, aka someone to make final decisions on the project to keep things moving forward.
Otherwise, it would have been an endless design cycle with too much feedback and not enough decision-making.
By the end of the redesign project, Hustle Fund and Altalogy had an 80-page Google Doc with detailed notes and feedback.
Mapping the Stylescape
Altalogy moved onto the stylescape, a place where designers can play freely with their design ideas.
This is the stage where there are no limits. Designers can get crazy. Exaggerate their concepts knowing they can tone them down later. Play. Have fun.
Eventually, Eric brought the design concepts to his Hustle Fund teammates for review. Employees gave feedback, which Eric consolidated and delivered back to Altalogy.
Altalogy used that feedback to narrow in on one concept, getting closer to the final design.
Tip: The team left 1000+ comments on Figma throughout the entire process. It may be time-consuming but Eric suggests copying and pasting all the comments into a shared doc to have everything on record.
Step 3: Iterating. Iterating. Iterating.
As they honed in on what would eventually be the final design, Eric realized that some elements he wanted didn’t work well in practice.
They changed the text, design, and spacing. Again.
Altalogy showed the new logo in different styles and places, iterating until it was perfect.
Throwing away drafts or ideas may feel like a waste of time. But going through this process was necessary to land on something everyone loved.
Where we are today
Our new logo has four arrows in different colors to represent founders who can look like anyone.
We have invested in 400+ companies. We wanted a page to highlight our existing portfolio AND easily add new ones.
The Hustle Fund brand is playful and fun. So we added easter eggs (surprises hidden around the site) to pay homage to our persona.
Many people won’t understand these elements. But they’re meaningful to the Hustle Fund team and community.
There is obviously much more to showcase.
We tried to wrap as much as we could from our months-long process into one newsletter.
If you want to see the full experience, go to HustleFund.VC and explore!
The last tip Eric will give to anyone considering a rebrand is to view your relationship with your design team as a true partnership.
You can’t contract your way out of a design process. The magic only happens when you and your designers are in sync.
A few weeks ago, Hustle Fund launched a new website with completely new branding.
The process was time consuming, but we walked away from the experience with tactical learnings.
And as you know, we LOVE to share tactical learnings.
Below are takeaways that any founder can apply to their own startup’s branding (and re-branding).