Narwhals v. Unicorns: the story of the Asana soccer mascot

When Marcos Medina was living in his hometown of Barcelona, he stumbled upon the Designer Fund Bridge program through a link on Twitter. Little did he know that just a few months later, his life would look pretty different: he’d be living on the other side of the world, standing in front of a team of people, talking about the pros and cons of using a Narwhal as a mascot representing his company’s athletic brand.

Marcos applied to the Bridge program, which connects designers with some of the most exciting startups in the San Francisco Bay Area, and was introduced to Asana. Since then he’s been a key member of Asana’s design team. Beyond the incredible career opportunities, Bridge offers members mentorship and a community of professional peers. For Marcos, Bridge provided the support he needed to leave his home and life in Spain and feel confident that the company he’d end up working for would be the perfect fit for him, and vice versa.

Since arriving at Asana, Marcos has not only helped launch new Asana features but also recently participated in a company-wide hackathon. We take time out of every Episode to give everyone an opportunity to work on a project — any project — that excites them. Teamwork is encouraged, and the goal is to see what people can build when they’re unconstrained by the demands of day-to-day work. At our latest hackathon, Marcos and a few other members of our design team took on a project outside of the Asana product.

Narwhals v. Unicorns

When Marcos joined Asana, he brought with him a love for not just design, but soccer. Marcos has not only helped us step it up on the field, but he decided to spearhead a complete redesign of the Asana Athletics brand to bring a new level of sportsmanship to our team.

A love for soccer, design, unicorns, and narwhals

An active member of the Asana soccer team, he wanted to make Asana’s sporting uniforms be more reminiscent of the ones he was used to back in his home country: jerseys with spirited emblems that highlight the pride each team has in their city (or in this case, company). He teamed up with fellow designers (and Bridge alums) Vanessa Koch and Casey Martin. The hackathon team kicked off by brainstorming names and ideas in an Asana project while Marcos started working on some sketches and a proposal to take our team to a new level.

In European leagues, sports emblems are typically shields designed to evoke the spirit of the city where the teams play. In the United States, sporting logos are more influenced by brand design. We wanted to mix the two aesthetics, focusing on one power animal, real or imagined. — Marcos Medina

Marcos was already familiar with common soccer emblem stylings (rounded ones like those of Chelsea and Bayern München, as well as shields like those seen on the jerseys of Arsenal and Liverpool). These options felt too serious for our soccer team, so Marcos, Vanessa, and Casey worked together on creating something more light-hearted and fun for Asana. They pulled their top two team name ideas: Narwhals (a real animal, if you didn’t know!) and Unicorns (which we have as a celebration hack from a previous hackathon), and played around with logos to fit each mascot.
Asana soccer jersey designs

While the final Unicorn logo had more of an edge, the Narwhals logo was more classic: rounded and easy-to-use, featuring the company’s standard Proxima Nova font, and colors based on the Asana palette. But, the hackathon left it up to everyone at Asana to decide which was better–everyone hearted their favorite design to determine the winning logo. In the end, the ocean-dwelling, horned Narwhals (as we like to call them, the Unicorns of the sea) came out on top. Now hopefully our soccer team will, too, as it gets ready to kick off a new season.

Narwhals v. Unicorns: the story of the Asana soccer mascot

Marcos, Casey, Vanessa, and Asana designer Tyson are all alums of the Bridge program. Interested in learning more about the program? They’re accepting applications.

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