Web Development + Design + Illustration
Summer 2018

Giving Life to Artificial Intelligence

During the summer of 2018 I worked at Blackbelt, a forward-thinking marketing agency that leveraged AI technology in every process. Blackbelt had undergone rapid growth and reinvention, leaving its identity unique and compelling but jumbled and unclear. In my time there, the team and I reimagined how they presented their product and their identity — with focus, cohesion, and a human touch.

Pictured Above: A custom editorial illustration I created for Blackbelt’s online articles and various other digital materials.

Updates Ready

The shift began with their website. As a website, it was fine. But as a means of communicating their identity, the website was disjointed and confusing to both their clients and to themselves. Blackbelt’s website was more reflective of where they came from rather than where they wanted to be.

Pictured Above: Screenshots from Blackbelt’s old website.

AI Everything

Blackbelt firmly believed in their new AI and strategy-first approach, which meant that they needed to let go of their old content and framework. With this in mind, I re-developed their website from the ground up, emphasizing their new approach – AI everything.

Pictured Above: Screenshots from my pass at re-designing and re-developing Blackbelt’s website (their current website may be slightly different from what I built).

Pen and Paper

After Blackbelt’s new framework and identity were set in place, I created custom editorial illustrations to introduce a touch of old-fashioned humanity and ownability to their image, while still upholding their core mission. These illustrations featured original AI character designs, a consistent visual vocabulary, and a hand-drawn style. These new illustrations enlivened Blackbelt’s content and opened the opportunity for new forms of communication, including light-hearted updates within social media and more casual articles on their blog.

Pictured Above: Some editorial illustrations I did for Blackbelt as a proof of concept, a new standard, and also usable deliverables.

Our Friend, Karl the Fog

I had a great summer in San Francisco working with the team at Blackbelt. They were quick, open-minded, welcoming, and all-around fun to work with. By the end of it, I really felt long I belonged with the team. And the little things, like afternoon walks to the Ferry Building, were routines that I didn’t appreciate until I left.

The city itself was also something that I didn’t appreciate until long after I left. I may be of the East Coast at heart, but the variety in SF’s neighborhoods, the coolness of its air, the can-do attitude of its people, the chaotic energy of its Chinatown, and the gentle nature of the city’s guardian, Karl the fog – these are all things that I miss.

Pictured Above: Blackbelt’s rooftop view (left), a view down the hilly streets of San Francisco (right)