scenic design_lighthouse.png





To create a cohesively designed campaign to share values.

Along with a team, I participated in the 2017 CYMK Designathon, and we designed a marketing campaign for a local coffee shop: SoDoI. The goal is to share the values of the coffee shop, which is: Never give up, Always be truthful, and Love life.


First place + Client's Choice Award

MY role

Client Interview, Project Management

Time frame

6 hours



Client Interview

We talked to our client, Calvin, to gain a better understanding of SoDoI’s existing brand, some expectations he had, and the scope of the project.

Some aspects that really inspired us is SoDoI's idea that water represents life and its ups and downs, and their analogy of "surfing–both riding on top of the waves when life is high, and picking people up from under the water when life is low".



Brainstorm: Inspirations and Associations

A cup is a vessel for serving coffee, and coffee is SoDoI’s vessel to share its values.

Our team started off with brainstorming, and we created a word web that consists of themes, motifs, and relevant imageries inspired by SoDoI’s values, like fire, steam, wood, waves, the naval themes] etc.



After synthesizing the words and associations from the word web, we also brainstormed about the deliverables that would be a part of the marketing campaign to represent SoDoI's value:

  1. A community wall for customers to pin up notes and share their thoughts

  2. A postcard that can be handed out as a merchandise or promotional material

  3. A coffee mug with images printed on the inside of the cup as a special merchandise

Meanwhile, to better communicate SoDoI’s values, we are also incorporating the following motifs in these products:

  • Lighthouse, which represents a community like SoDoI Coffee

  • Water/wave, which represents life

  • Ships, which represents people going through the ups and downs in their lives

While we only have a few hours to complete the designs, we quickly started to create mock-ups for the three designs to better illustrate our ideas.

The concept is that we are from different walks of life, and we are all going through ups and downs, like sailing the ocean. At SoDoI, represented by the lighthouse, people would be able to sit down, have coffee, and relax.



Community Wall

While we only have a few hours to complete the designs, we created mock-ups for the designs to illustrate our ideas.

Mockup by team member Katherine Qiu

People can share their thoughts through pinning up little pieces of notes, and interact with each other through starting a thread using the red pin, or following-up on someone else's note using a blue pin.

The different sea levels here represent the turbulence of the emotions, e.g. a happy thought about dreams and aspirations would be pinned at 4000, and if someone's feeling depressed or stressed out about school or work, they can pin it at -2000.

We want it to foster a community at SoDoI, which relates back to the idea of picking people up from under the water when life is low. While people may be stressed out about the same things, talking to each other would really help.

Here is a storyboard that illustrates how the community shoreline works, and how our persona Frank interacts with it:

Storyboard by team members Andre Mangulabnan and Melissa Silvers


We also designed a postcard, which will be a free merchandise for people to take home, while also serving as a promotional material for advertisement. 

The illustration on the post card further reinforces three motives: light house, boats, and waves. It’s also visually enticing, which prompts people to take it home to keep or share.

With that, they will always be reminded of the community at SoDoI: the support that they have received when they are feeling down, and the moments of joy when they share happy thoughts with others.

Illustration by team member Christine Qian

Illustration by team member Christine Qian


SoDoI prides itself in the quality of the coffee that they serve, and we want to remind people of the values that SoDoI shares, especially when they are enjoying SoDoI’s coffee in their hands. So, we designed this coffee mug with a beautiful illustration on the inside, which continues to incorporate the visual elements and motifs that had appeared throughout the campaign.

While the illustration is printed on the inside of the mug, it is something that would evoke a sense of anticipation when people are drinking the coffee, and bring that small spark of joy when they finish the coffee.



Final Pitch



Our Team

Katherine Qiu, Melissa Silvers, Andre Mangulabnan, Christine Qian, Maggie Chen



This is the second time that I've participated in a designathon, and although it was a packed day, I actually really enjoyed staying super focused for 6 hours and just designing. While our team members were all extremely talented, it was also pretty amazing that we were able to pull it together within such a short period of time.

One thing that really helped us is to talk to the client and really understand the narrative behind their values - which in fact inspired us to brainstorm and design the three products/deliverables.

The highlight was definitely being able to win both the first place and the client's choice award.

While I'm really proud of what our team was able to accomplish, 6 hours was really short, and I do wish that we'd had more time to do more research, brainstorm, and polish our final designs.

I also wish that we had more time to actually visit the coffee shop, and interview a few customers to see how they currently feel about/relate to SoDoI’s values.