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SoFi Rebrand


SoFi is a modern finance company, known for student loan repayment and a suite of financial tools.  In order to broaden its position in the market, SoFi needed to evolve its core values, rebuild a brand strategy, and retool its values.  I joined SoFi as a Brand Creative Director to assess competition, formulate an evidence–based market shift, new values, new messaging and collateral, and construct a new ID system — all in support of an initiative to grow membership through an emotive brand story.

Creative Direction

Brand Strategy
Culture and Values

Get Your Money Right

SoFi logo before and after




In a landscape of stiff fintech services, competitive analysis led me to recommend a transparent, human approach to the SoFi rebrand.  Being "debt–free" could be the first point of contact in a longer relationship in which we help people attain their life goals.  This approach renewed the company's position: its vision, purpose, and strategy, followed by a re–alignment of culture and values, a more succinct ID system, and new a campaign voice.

SoFi Methodology


With a simplified, broadened purpose, we can scaffold a more emotive brand strategy around a much larger audience.

Rather than targeting HENRY (High-Earning, Not-Rich-Yet) members, SoFi now seeks customers who simply want to achieve financial independence, and realize their life ambitions — members who are, simply put, driven.

With emotional promises now driving the brand, we can embrace members' individuality, no longer seeking financial "types".  We can support individual ambitions more directly — through career coaching and financial advising — and we can paint a picture of possible futures for an audience unified by a common drive to succeed.



ID Formula

The new brand system would need to represent the attributes of the new strategy: by embracing members' individuality and supporting their ambition, we create a window on a future of possibilities:






The Mark

The original mark emphasized SoFi's reputation for elitism: a"tic–tac–toe" of student loan applicants, with only a select few accepted as members.  The opportunity to dispel this idea, while supporting the new brand values became instantly clear.

I wanted to create something that people could attach their own meaning to.  Early in the re–brand process, I started thinking of ambition as an aperture — a window on the possible future.  Most of my exploration was around the “O” of the word mark, modularity, and different ways to emphasize the magnifying, projecting aspect of that shape, while eliminating the idea of a selection process, and conveying the new individuality of the brand.

SoFi logo


The logo's "O" aperture lends itself to a wide array of visual treatments and diverse campaigns for evolving company needs, while giving designers opportunities for ownership, and challenging them to try new approaches.


I wanted something big, bold, and "anti-financial" for our typography, both in the custom mark and our daily–use systems.  The new "SOFI" is fun, but still commands the respect that working with people's money requires.  Bold slab serifs give Odudo a more 21st century tone, making it recognizable, but not institutional.

SoFi typography


Along the same lines as the bold new typeface, I wanted to create a color system that's vibrant, dynamic, and atypical of financial brands.  By loosely referencing foods and environments, we can make the abstraction of finance more relatable.  Keeping gradients present in the logo itself is a nod to SoFi's beginnings.

SoFi iPad
SoFi color palette
SoFi Anthony Bourdain Microsite
SoFi mobile view



It should be every company's aspiration to align their product experience and functionality to the emotional promise of their brand.  Assessing challengers in the financial space, I wanted SoFi to win on both "newness" and familiarity.  This required a brand style guide of visual risk–taking, tempered by the trust and safety that finance requires: the unexpectedly expected. 

"The unexpectedly expected"

SoFi iPad view


Modularity, dimensionality, typography, and vibrant materials design make SoFi collateral unmistakable.  The new styleguide gives the design team guide-rails for speed, ease, and humor to tell new, relevant stories, and surface the new brand to a bigger audience. 


Smart surrealism is felt across touch-points, leaving the door open for the creative team to engage with the brand in unexpected ways.  In this collaborative, consequence–free space, trends can be surfed quickly and easily, and we get a more sincere line out to our audience.

"Purposefully Unconventional"

Culture & Values

In the process of repositioning the company and building a new strategy, I was given 11 values from the SoFi executive team.  In truth, they were awkwardly–written.  In order to present these values to the wider company, I needed  vehicles that would get buy-in from everyone.  I collaborated across teams to create palpable deliverables and meaningful rewards. 


"Values" are a destination that you never really get to, but create and recreate along the journey towards understanding a company culture.  Under my direction, the design team turned the 11 "commandments" into a beautiful, actionable, and "true" system.


Creating Purpose

On the surface, financial brands and tools can seem dry, uninteresting, and demeaning.  Financial instruments and language seem deliberately off–putting.  Most banks and lenders boast a deeper, personalized relationship, but don't deliver.  Similarly, SoFi has historically targeted the mass affluent — a cramped and competitive segment of the total market.  While I enjoy building brands for the high-end of the market, helping a company find its TAM by growing its audience while helping them is the mature challenge.

SoFi's new brand strategy sets aside debt–to–income parsing, and opens the door to membership wide by focusing on emotional value propositions: ambition and drive.  Messaging, campaigns, product, and events were re–tooled to pivot SoFi from being "that student loan company", to a humorously urbane, approachable entity that can not only help get people out of debt, but continue a relationship through useful product offerings, such as mortgage and wealth management — for life, making SoFi a partner, rather than a lender.  

This effort is about repositioning, but, it's also about making SoFi into a purpose–led institution — one that can take an active role in people's lives, greatly growing its membership, and increasing its revenue over much longer stretches of time.

"To win the positioning game, you have to answer one simple question: What makes you the only ”?

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