When we hear about government projects — like road maintenance, public building plans, or vaccination rollouts — we rarely think about what goes into acquiring the materials needed to make those projects happen. Behind the scenes, there’s an entire sector dedicated to procurement and connecting the government to vetted suppliers. Government procurement is a $1.5 trillion market, but that often means big businesses get more visibility than smaller ones. So, Mariel Reed and Alicia Chen founded CoProcure, a civic technology platform that allows public agencies to buy goods and services from qualified sellers, regardless of size, across America.
At a new stage of growth, CoProcure came to Big Human looking for a rebrand (and rename) that added personality to the procurement space. What we created together brought in a little humanity, too.
Research & Strategy
When we started this project, it was clear everything we did needed to echo CoProcure’s mission: make the government purchasing process easier and more equitable. CoProcure is essentially a broader initiative to bring compelling but often overlooked businesses into the fold.
After five years in the industry, CoProcure already had an established brand identity. It was our job to take a look at it with fresh eyes, refining its audience and value proposition. The CoProcure team set the foundation with traditional market research while Big Human analyzed their findings to ensure every part of the brand was consistent across channels. We conducted a brand workshop and consolidated the exercise into the key characteristics (i.e. four brand pillars and their divergent traits) that would go on to inform the Positioning & Messaging, Brand Design, and Product Design.
Positioning & Messaging
During our earlier workshops, we realized CoProcure had to account for two audiences: buyers and sellers. Sellers needed to be spoken to directly in a more sales-oriented manner, and it was important to communicate value propositions clearly and in a straightforward way. As for buyers, messaging needed to reflect collaborative, community-oriented language and tone of voice.
At every touchpoint, CoProcure’s goal is to make things as simple as possible while recognizing that the underlying process of public procurement is very complex. Our messaging outputs — and the rebrand as a whole — needed to convey that CoProcure understands the nuance behind this complexity. So, we helped clearly establish CoProcure’s position in the market as well as its industry authority.
While the CoProcure team favored simple and concise language, we needed to be cognizant of every word choice. On the surface, “efficient” is a buzzword we’re used to hearing and it sounds appealing, but it raises a flag for those working for public agencies since an “efficient” online solution suggests certain functions will be removed due to redundancy. Instead, CoProcure empowers people to improve their processes. “Modern” — and other words in the same vein — was another term we wanted to avoid using. We aimed to strike a careful balance between friendliness and professionalism, so we avoided leaning too far into sophistication or playfulness. Where we landed finds the balance between something that feels familiar but also revolutionary.
Our final outputs included tone of voice guidelines, informative and aspirational headlines, website copy, search bar call-to-actions, and audience-specific boilerplates. We also created templated language guidelines CoProcure could flesh out with their own industry knowledge, including glossary terms, editorial rules, dos and don’ts, and tone of voice by audience and user journey.
“A rising tide lifts all boats.” That was the theme we kept in mind throughout the renaming process. CoProcure is a facilitator. It connects buyers and sellers in a communal space, and people coming together to share their resources and knowledge is core to the brand.
We held several naming workshops with CoProcure. Throughout these workshops, we were always cognizant of the possibility of CoProcure retaining its original name. To help their team decide on the best path forward, we developed a new internal framework that presented name ideas narratively. We described the nuances each name held and wrote copy that was specific to the name’s meaning.
Our storytelling approach aimed to answer three questions: 1. Objectively — Is this a good name? 2. Can people spell or search it? and 3. Does it communicate the brand’s purpose and beliefs?
After both the CoProcure and Big Human teams voted on their favorites, we sifted through a spreadsheet of rankings that helped frame pros and cons. Eventually, one name won out: Pavilion. The new name reflects Pavilion’s function as a gathering place — one that’s open to all — where people can exchange goods and ideas.
Pavilion wanted something that was truly unique in the landscape and added a little spice to procurement, an industry that’s largely bureaucratic and behind a little red tape. To show how Pavilion is turning the procurement space on its head, we made sure our designs were rooted in the pillars of their brand personality: ambitious, friendly, diligent, and practical.
Big Human designers shared three different concepts (“territories,” as we like to call them) that spoke to the Pavilion brand and carried its theme. The Pavilion team ultimately went with our third option, a design that not only highlighted community and connection but ushered in a new generation for procurement. We stayed away from colors that felt stuffy or were already being used by other brands, like yellow, orange, and red, so we leaned into jewel tones like purple, blue, and green.
The logo is where we had the most fun and freedom to play around. We took a close look at the shapes within the name Pavilion and how, when written in cursive, the name creates one continuous line. Serendipitously, this represented how Pavilion connects the points between buyers and suppliers in an effortless way. The final logo has a lighthearted approach that conveys the power of alliance. We then allowed that line art to permeate the rest of the design. The line acts as a visual metaphor, communicating Pavilion’s position as a facilitator.
To help with the site design, we also curated stock imagery and high-resolution mockups we later stylized for a custom touch. Our final brand guidebook included the rules of thumb for logo, color, typography, photography, and graphics usage.
Pavilion’s website serves as both a marketing tool and a service forum, but it made an important pivot from a “search bar of procurement” to a “procurement marketplace.” As the Craigslist of Procurement, Pavilion’s website is simple and has only two main landing pages. After reskinning the entire website with the new brand designs, we made small UI updates that established a visual hierarchy. Pavilion’s marketplace category is a big way for users to interact, so we highlighted that section with icons to reinforce its importance.
For the above-the-fold hero section on the website, we wanted to focus on the relationship between buyers and suppliers. We stacked photos on top of each other and connected them with the line art we created during the rebranding process. As the second image falls beneath the fold, so does the line, inspiring users to follow it with their own eyes. To emphasize the motif even more, we turned it into an animation. On the buyers’ page, we placed a potential buyer in the center with animated options orbiting around them, symbolizing the endless possibilities Pavilion provides.
Pavilion’s final style guide includes basic functionalities, buttons, states, cards, images, and graphic elements.