A New (York) Challenge, a Realdolmen Idea

27 March 2019

Design thinking

We are always eager to learn, facing all challenges in a competitive spirit. A contest for the city of New York was the perfect opportunity to test our approach in a design sprint for a digitally created, non-digital product.

Concrete jungles where dreams are made of

New York, a city that speaks to everyone’s imagination and is the setting of many of our dreams. Anyone who has spent time in New York City’s busy commercial and residential neighborhoods must have noticed the street-level plazas, atriums, and arcades, next to or within privately owned office and residential towers. Some of these spaces feel more like small parks, others are hardscaped. Many are full of people eating lunch, meeting friends, reading, or people watching, though others are underutilized. Most, however, share one characteristic: known as privately owned public spaces (POPS), they are legally required to be open to the public, and for public use.

The New York City Privately Owned Public Space (POPS) Logo Design Competition is being held to solicit designs for a new logo to feature on signage at over 550 POPS across the city.The POPS logo would be seen by millions of residents, workers, and visitors on any given day as it encourages the public to take full advantage of these valuable, possibly unrecognized, public spaces.

One of our designers stumbled upon this competition and saw it as the perfect opportunity. We would use a real-world design contest to test our design sprint process for customer projects. We got to work to create a beautiful logo.


Our approach

Driven by creativity, we keep an open mind as we work together to meet the challenges of tomorrow. We optimize existing processes and find innovative solutions. Our approach to co-creating this logo was agile and pragmatic.

First, we defined our sprint objectives. To start off the logo design process, we spent five minutes listing ideas, based on “How Might We” (HMW) questions. How might we get public interest? How might we get a simple, but good design? How might we choose a color? Then, we grouped the answers into different categories, branches or common families (appearance, look and feel, recognition & interest). At the end we voted for the two best ideas; a good, simple design logo, which is instantly recognizable. This became our sprint goal: “Redesign a logo for privately owned public spaces (POPS) in New York City, making it simple and instantly recognizable.” We also defined our sprint questions. Can we match the logo to the identity? Is the logo popular? Is the logo self-explanatory? Is the logo timeless?

With this straightforward goal in mind, we dove into brainstorming. We researched a wide variety of logos to gain inspiration and understand the ideas behind them. Then, we began sketching out our concepts, folding a sheet of paper into eight sections for different sketches. One eighth for each new concept. We asked people in various roles (UX team leader, UX architect, coach) to have a look and choose the best match for the competition. Some elements were very popular, such as the skyline, tree, public and pop art. We kept that input in mind as we refined our designs. We then put these on Yammer, our internal social media network, so people could vote on their favorites. A clear winner was the result, gaining 68% of the votes.

POPS logo

For our last step, the proposal submission, we created a SCRUM board to efficiently divide and conquer all our to do’s using Teams.

Our idea

 “A meeting point in New York City”

We constructed our logo using basic shapes that represent Privately Owned Public Space in New York City. We kept the tree from the previous version, evoking quietness, tranquility and peace. The digital pointer stands for the physical location, and the city of New York is symbolized by the skyline above the text.

Your vote can rock the boat

Do you like our logo? Since this is a competition, we need votes (and lots of them!). You can vote on our logo under VIEW LOGOS (logo number 472).