How do you create a fresh new identity for a 20-year old design competition?

By developing a playful identity that captures the unique spirit of the Pacific Northwest.

The Northwest Design Invitational, a biennial product design competition, had lost enthusiasm within the design community. It needed a major overhaul to reflect the cross-functional nature of contemporary product design, and to set itself apart from other design competitions.

winning formula

Competition and Event Strategy

  • Revamped the event from top to bottom to help it appeal to a younger audience.
  • Revamped competition criteria, opening it up to UX, packaging design, and architecture.
  • Brought in judges to reflect the full arc of the design process, from designer to client to consumer.

Digital Strategy and User Experience

  • Created a new site to drive excitement, make submittals easy, and showcase the winning designs.

Branding and Visual Design

  • Most competitions are serious affairs, but we felt introducing wit was the key to capturing the optimistic nature of the future of regional design. Starting with a new name — The Shaggies — we dove right into a playful, distinctive experience by elevating the fuzzy, mossy nature of the PNW and its bearded, mossy constituents.
  • Developed a minimal look with over-the-top voice and tone to express the passion people have for design.

Poster Design

  • Extended the playful spirit with a compelling design featuring iconic products flocked in moss and a provocative headline.

Event Design

  • Planned a memorable awards celebration including a chainsaw artist from Forks, WA, who supplied the finishing touches for the 4-foot-tall Best in Show trophy — a huge bald eagle carrying the winning product in its talons!


The rebrand was met with great success: they had a 20% increase in submittals.