When we started blekko, I was fortunate to find myself working with a really great technical team. I'd worked with most of these folks before at various valley companies over the years and knew that they were killer engineers. We were pretty confident that we had the technical chops to build a new search engine from scratch. We also had a bunch of ideas about a differentiated search experience that could be built...
But we had absolutely no in-house artistic talent. It's a running joke around our office that we're really good at building ugly web sites.
I'm envious of startups that are fortunate enough to have a really talented designer in their core team. Unfortunately that just wasn't us. So when we were hunting around for some imagery to go with our brand, we turned to 99designs.
Our product director had the idea that slashtags turn our users into superusers, since slashtags let them kill spam with a single click, quickly pivot through numerous verticals, and x-ray valuable seo ranking data.
But the imagery really got fleshed out during our design competition. We wanted something cool we could put on a tee shirt, beyond the simple 'blekko' wordmark.
Slashtag Man came back from the design competition and everybody loved him. After we made him the default avatar on the site, some of our beta users tweeted that they weren't going to upload their own pic because they liked slashtag man so much.
We had the designers make a Slashtag Girl so we could put her on the back of the women's tees we ordered.
The imagery here worked perfectly for what we were trying to do - empowering regular users to turn into super-users when they search.
To help us celebrate our new super-hero identity, we’ve got 100 t-shirts to give away. If you want one, just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org, include your size, let us know if you prefer a women's tee, and of course your mailing address and we'll send you a tee shirt.
We'll also be giving away tees at our booth at upcoming shows - TechCrunch Disrupt, SMX East, PubCon and Defrag. If you're at one of these shows, please stop by and chat and we'll give you a tee if we haven't run out.
Slash the web!