After a merger between Elance and oDesk, two of the world's largest online freelancer marketplaces, I had the privilege of overseeing the creation of the Upwork brand for the newly formed company. Fast forward a few years, and the creative team had grown from 1 to 20; we were completing over 300 projects a year for a rapidly growing company, and we had learned a lot more about our business, our customers, and what was and wasn't working. It became clear the brand was due for a refresh to better align with our strategy, eliminate inconsistency introduced over the years, and stand out in a crowded field of companies that all look the same.
We created a short internal brand launch video to educate employees on the new brand and get them excited for the launch.
We conducted extensive workshops, creative exploration, and user research to ensure our strategy and execution resonated with our target audiences.
It was important to us that we created original, differentiated, and authentic photography that highlighted our most important asset—our freelance talent. We selected top freelancers in our 12 most important categories and flew them out for a photoshoot that highlighted their skills and reinforced the new brand. Each image was used to promote that particular category of work offered on the platform.
We augmented our freelancer photography with more flexible shots that were bespoke to the Upwork brand and could be used across a wide variety of marketing and product projects.
We created an illustration system that scaled across hundreds of touch-points such as marketing collateral, the product experience, and our blogs. Each illustration was created specifically by the Upwork design team to ensure they were unique to our brand.
An entirely new set of brand guidelines were developed.
We created a library of hundreds of product-specific illustrations that could be used consistently across the product experience.
The brand refresh included updating hundreds of pages within our marketing visitor site experience, all of which were thoroughly tested to understand the impact to metrics prior to launch. The brand refresh resulted in a 70% increase in engagement with our primary CTA on the homepage.
We created a bold new 3D animation style to bring the brand to life in product announcement videos like this one.
The new brand had to be consistent at every brand touchpoint while also being flexible enough to work in different mediums such as this direct mail project.
I hired Upwork's first ad agency and collaborated on a handful of impactful multi-million dollar brand awareness campaigns. This campaign, created in partnership with our agency, was the first to bring the new brand execution to life in live action video.
This is Happening, “Plateau”
This is Happening, “Maternity Leave”
This is Happening, “Project: Big Important”
Product Design
We created this video to explain the product changes that were made for the brand refresh, including updated component designs, custom illustrations, new color palette, and animation.
We created robust illustration guidelines and partnered closely with the product design team to implement the brand throughout the product experience.
We partnered with the product and engineering teams to create an impactful animated loader and onboarding experience for the Upwork mobile app.
Brand & Design Strategy
User Research
Brand Identity System
Brand Architecture
Brand Messaging & Tone of Voice
Motion Design & Video Production
Product Design
Original Illustration & Photography
Direct Mail, Out of Home
Digital Advertising

Executive Creative Director: Jonathan Cofer
Art Director: Harry Yu
Motion Graphics: Zack Patterson
Illustration & Graphic Design: Grace Kim, Ju Kim, Ana Cosovic
Photography: RC Rivera
Product Design: Kenny Hopper & Omar Guerrero
Ad Agency: Duncan Channon
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