Philip Makara

Case Study: Building an Internal Startup Brand

In 2013-2014, I was the user experience lead of a new “Product Management" organization at Lockheed Martin, and helped stand up this new organization.


Along with the director and a peer leader, I was tasked to help build a product-focused new organization from the ground up. This organization was at the CTO level of a ~30K employee division that provided IT services and products to government, commercial, and internal customers. It was like forming an internal startup where our investors were the senior leaders of the company. The organization was improperly associated with an existing research organization that had a negative reputation for delivering incomplete and immature solutions. In our minds, they were not quite "products" by any standard definition. Its brand was well-known and we shared office space.

My Role

I lead the initiative to develop the branding for the organization. I acted as creative/art director and was the internal social media manager. Since I was a primary interface with customers, I wanted to ensure a consistent, professional brand was presented. And as a leader in a new organization, I wanted to involve the team in the process to energize them, build a sense of ownership, and create an inclusive culture. 


  • Met with the organization director to understand her vision and the organization's mission. 
  • Walked through a branding questionnaire with the director to understand her ideas and constraints. 
  • Held a team brainstorming question with the team to solicit key words and sketch visual concepts. 
  • Consolidated the ideas into a few conceptual sketches that I shared with a visual designer. 
  • Worked with the visual designer to narrow down to 4 options.
  • Tested the 4 options with the director and employees outside the organization. 
  • Reviewed color options and selected final logo.
  • Worked with animator to introduce movement into the components of the logo that would be used in video material and set to an audio effect track.
Logo Evolution

Logo Evolution

I started the ideation process with sketches created by hand on paper and in the iPad "Paper" app.  The logo options on the bottom half were created by a visual designer I worked with to create the comps that I used to narrow down to the final option that the organization director went with on the very bottom.