Michelle Haydu

Instacart Brand Evolution


Instacart Brand Evolution

Objective: To create a cohesive brand with a strong look, voice and tone to help build brand awareness and affinity.

Role: Designer, project manager, art director

Team: Melissa Gould (copy), Sara Evangelista (illustrations)



The first step to reining in the brand was to do an audit in order to get a feeling of how our brand looked and felt to our customers.

What I discovered was a range of assets with various inconsistencies including:
- illustration style
- typography
- stock photography usage
- Instacart's logo (before and after rebrand)

These inconsistencies were hindering Instacart from forming a solid brand identity.


Campaign exploration

After the audit, it was time for Instacart to have it's first marketing campaign. Many of our partner grocery stores include in-store marketing in their various locations to promote grocery delivery via Instacart. 

As we proceeded to create a cohesive marketing campaign, our freelance designer, Sara, and I started to explore different messaging and design approaches for the in-store assets. 


We narrowed down our explorations to 4 concepts and presented them to an internal team. The team decided that the top two concepts were Food as Hero and Convenience.



Goal of research:
- Full asset appeal — head-to-head, which is more interesting?
- What led the respondents to choose the company they selected?
- How well does [each asset] represent specific brand attributes?

Survey: Conducted via Survey Monkey (audience of U.S. based Mechanical Turk workers)

Respondents: 403

 "Shelf blade" assets we showed respondents. Design on right by Sara Evangelista.

"Shelf blade" assets we showed respondents. Design on right by Sara Evangelista.

We stripped away the Instacart brand so there wouldn't be biases and replaced the company name and URL with two fictional businesses. 

Summary of insights: Most respondents favored the Convenience concept, because it helped explain what Instacart is and how it works.


First In-Store marketing Campaign

After synthesizing the user research, we began iterating on the favored concept, Convenience.

Areas to improve:
- make the hands look more human
- expand the illustration bank to include many food items
- write copy that communicates how Instacart works

Many of the grocery stores Instacart partners with asked us to customize the templates we developed, and put a range of creatives around their stores including exterior banner signs, fridge wraps, window clings, end caps, and much more.


Evolving the In-Store Marketing Campaign

Although the first campaign was successful, we decided to refine it by simplifying the color palette and stripping away the gradient from the illustrations.

In addition, the initial campaign was created before Instacart had a copywriter. With Melissa Gould onboard, the company was able to develop a distinct brand voice. We shifted the focus from the illustrations to the messaging, and used illustrations as an accent. 


We also saw the importance of including Instacart's URL or mentioning the app to act as a call-to-action, as well as use the full-color logo throughout all assets to help with brand recognition.


Creating brand Guidelines

Throughout the first 5 years of Instacart's history, there had never been a central place to learn more about the brand and find out how to use some of the key components, such as the logo, photography, and writing style.

Now that Instacart's brand was developing and had a distinct look and feel, Melissa Gould and I took the initiative to create a comprehensive brand guidelines PDF. 

This document will be used to:
- Onboard new designers and writers
- Educate freelance designers and writers
- Share best practices with the operations team, who occasionally create their own regional marketing assets
- Give the business development team a well-designed document to share with potential and existing retail and CPG partners
- Eventually build an online version that our PR team can include in a media kit

Please contact me to take a peek at the first iteration.

BrandGuidelines_Master3_MG (1).jpg