Using Code To Empower

Writer: Maliya Naz

Code As A Means of Change Championed by Pro Bono Effort

IPG creative agency, Elephant developed a new brand identity and website for All-Star Code, an organization that empowers young men of color to achieve financial independence and social mobility via the power of code.

The first iteration of a new brand platform, “Hello World,” is the website design and voice. Hello World programs are traditionally used to demonstrate how the coding process works as well as to verify that a language or system is working properly. It is also the first program many new coders learn. Given this context, the phrase serves as a reintroduction to the unique application created by the student. 

The design incorporates code elements such as javascript and primary colors but is also enhanced with more editorialized photos. The site includes motivational stories about All-Star Code students and their accomplishments in the hopes of encouraging visitors to register, participate, or donate.

“All-Star Code is an amazing organization that champions code as a means for change and progress. Without people of color at the coding table, inequality continues to perpetuate,” said Eric Moore, CEO of Elephant.

Elephant began its partnership with All-Star Code over a year ago as part of its #CommitmentToChange. Twenty-eight employees worked together and invested more than 3,000 hours to bring to life the voices of All-Star Code – resulting in a new brand identity and a digital product that will help advance the mission of All-Star Code and change the face of tech.

The agency’s work in establishing the new brand platform will help address the problem of systemic inequality in tech. The design was inspired by the vast opportunities that code offers. Intrigued by the visuals, I asked the design firm to tell me about the process and inspiration for these specific design choices. 

GDUSA: Why were these specific colors chosen? 

Carlos Matias, VP Brand Design, Elephant: We created a bright and vivid color palette to create a playful visual language that offered infinite possibilities. These primary colors, bold and simple, are directly derived from coding. They are used by developers every day and are extremely functional by nature. They allow us to signal “code,” without necessarily having to show any coding lines. This allows for another dimension of expressivity, giving an almost modernist impact to our designs.

GDUSA: Was the placement of the code intentional? If so, what does it represent by being at the center of the individual’s face?

Greg Assemat Tessandier, President, Elephant: Yes, the placement of the code is intentional. All-Star Code is about changing the current paradigm in tech, by giving the power of code to young men of color. This is really about establishing the connection between their stories, the opportunities that coding provides, and the future that they will create with it. 

Carlos Matias, VP Brand Design, Elephant: We placed code at the core of our identity, immersing ourselves into java, python, c++ to find visual elements that unite all codes in our collective minds and integrate these in an emotionally charged art direction. One that placed the kids and their stories as the heroes. The kids are the why. The code is the what.