Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
As a Product Designer at Fearless, I was tasked with designing a logo for a product called Blueprint – an application from CMS that clarifies Rapid ATO expectations and reduces burden in system security planning.
It’s an interactive tool that ISSOs and other security professionals will use to manage the Rapid ATO process for their systems.
Product Designer at Fearless
As the application is being designed and developed, we underwent an effort to brand the product, design the logo, and establish a visual style.
Target Audience & Impact
While the target users are pretty narrow, and this product will only be usable by a relatively small group of people, the opportunities of impact from this product are huge. CMS manages over 200 systems that are FISMA reportable, each requiring a security compliance assessment in order to obtain an Authority To Operate (ATO) at least every three years.
By expediting and automating this process, CMS has the potential to save millions of dollars per year, as well as make the process more enjoyable for users.
While the new initiative seems straightforward, it came with challenges. The existing users who go through this process manually have a high technical understanding, but are overwhelmed and can be confused by the process they have to go through for ATO submission.
One of our goals in creating this product is to have a human-centered approach, which includes its branding and perception to its users. We want a brand that feels modern, like our technology, yet familiar and friendly.
To begin the discovery process, I ran a workshop with our three stakeholders at CMS. Our findings are shown below, which factored into the design.
- You do not have to start from scratch
- Build your SSP based on your technology stack
- Empower a team in iterative security
- Supports iterative system changes quicker in SSP
- Going through the process is like a root canal
- It’s a distracting and complicated process
- It’s a waste of time that will add more friction
- Architectural plans or a house blueprint: conveys the idea of the overall structure
- Modular building blocks: conveys the idea of customization and flexibility
The design process took about 6 weeks, with three concepts and one round of revisions.
I took inspiration from the brand discovery and jumped into the creative process – performing industry research, sketching out ideas, and iterating on logo designs. I worked with my team to evaluate the designs and gather critical feedback, selecting the strongest concepts to present to stakeholders.
Upon sharing three different creative directions for the logo, the stakeholders chose one design to move forward, with a minor change.
All of the options were designed to embody the brand’s values, with vibrant and optimistic colors that brought a sense of modernity and tech. We also wanted to make sure that the colors of the logo played well with USWDS (The United States Web Design System) which we used on the project. Lastly, the logo use is mostly digital at a small size, so proportion and readability were paramount.
This concept was inspired by legos, with blocks forming the letter B. The style is a bit edgy, with a strong and secure look from the hard lines in the mark, softened by the friendly typography, and it aligns with a tech aesthetic.
This concept uses vibrant blues and rounded shapes to make the logo feel friendly and approachable. The shapes overlap and fit together, as if they are merging, which gives the sense of collaboration the users experience in the tool.
This concept was inspired by the idea of components and users coming together to form a larger product. The simple yet bold graphic would fit in well with other SaaS logos and evokes a sense of simplicity and ease.
Option 1, Revised
All three stakeholders responded strongly to option 1, but wanted additional exploration into the logomark to see if we could make the "B"shape more obvious.
The team was given three additional options to review, and came to a consensus on their favorite.
Logo guidelines were incorporated into our larger visual guidelines file in Figma, which also included our design system.
The client was a pleasure to work with and had great enthusiasm for the project. They provided clear feedback, and came to a consensus rather quickly.
The next steps for this project are to continue with design and development of the application, and work on expanding the verbal and visual brand guidelines.