Let’s make a brand

We use brands to project who we want to be in the world, how we want people to perceive us, and how we want to feel about ourselves. – Debbie Millman​

For the past few weeks, I have been looking into branding my thesis. My first impression was this is going to be a piece of cake and I will be able to complete it very soon. I soon realized that it was a lot of work, even though I stuck to the bare necessities of branding.

It first starts with a name. A product name. A name that you can be proud of, easy to say and easy to remember. I decided to create a mini Slack group amongst my classmates to decide on some of the options I had in mind. Just the deciding of the name took more than a week. Finally, a majority voted on just one name and which was Anchor. It was easy to remember and it had a positive and literally a heavy meaning to it.

Thesis name: Anchor (check)

Next was deciding on the color palette and typography. I was advised by Molly, a visual designer in New York City to create a color palette for Anchor. My product was useful during emergency situations, but I really didn’t want my colors to match red, orange or yellow. I wanted my colors to express happiness and warm-y feelings. I created some variations that had lighter colors of the emergency tone and one complete opposite.

The winning color palette is below

Thesis color palette (check)

Then the final and main piece which was the logo. This was my least favorite task only because creating logos was not my forte. I was trying to play on the word, Anchor and have some hint of a lamp post, grid or network. I tried many variations, but nothing screamed, a-ha! My VD advisor helped me to narrow down some of the styles and iterate on a couple. And after days and days of sketches and iteration, I now have a logo.

Thesis logo (check)

Voila! Introducing Anchor

Physical feedback

(Pictures coming soon)

In the last 2 weeks, I created a very close ‘Looks like feels like’ prototype of my physical product. My initial thoughts were it looked bulky and heavy, but it did make my physical object look strong. I used wood that was .50 inches thick.

While I was working in the Visible Futures Lab (VFL) I asked informally for some thoughts from the staff and other students. Some of the comments were:

“It’s an interesting shape”

“I thought you were creating a barn”

“Looks heavy”

“What goes inside?” (I explain) “Oh make sense”

I got a mix of reviews, in my next iteration, I will use wood that is .25 inches thick.

Audience of Anchor

Audience of Anchor

  1. Any user who is capable of using mobile sites on their phone
  2. Any users who has enabled the ‘Emergency alert’
  3. Any user who has signed up for Anchor via text message
  4. Busy, working professionals. Most likely not prepared for a disaster
  5. Residents who are not prepared for a disaster
  6. Residents who stay decides to stay behind, when it’s mandatory evacuation

Value proposition (v2)

Anchor provides electricity information and communication to city residents after disasters or emergencies, by adding solar-powered local mesh wireless networks to street lights. Unlike LinkNYC, Anchor is built on existing infrastructure and is flood proof.

Value proposition

Version 2

Anchor is an emergency management system that provides electricity and communication to city residents after a floods/hurricanes, by adding solar power and local mesh wireless networks to street lights. Unlike LinkNYC, Anchor is flood proof.

Version 1

Anchor is an emergency management system that provides electricity and communication to city residents after a major disasters, by adding solar power and local mesh wireless networks to street lights. Unlike LinkNYC, Anchor is emergency proof.

Decision making criteria

From the beginning of last semester, I had a very broad thesis topic. As time went on my topic became narrower and more specific.  I did many experts to user interviews to help me to get where I am today. Now my thesis provides electricity and communication to city residents after a disaster. These are user needs and personally, would like to accomplished for my thesis.


Reflecting on final presentation

My thesis provides electricity and the internet to city residents after major disasters, by adding solar power and local mesh wireless networks to city infrastructure.

In my last thesis final presentation, I created 2 prototypes.
1. An add-on to a current lamppost
2. A new lamp post design.

Looking back at my final presentation and prototype, I don’t feel confident and it seems to be missing many parts.

My prototypes need a lot of work, especially in the form or shape of the design. This has been a struggle for me since I don’t have an ID background. In addition, I need to explore the interaction part of my design and there are so many questions that need to be answered.

How would a resident know that this exists in the world? How would they use it? Do they log in? Can residents use it if there isn’t an emergency? What access should they have after login?

Data from the past 10 years [Research]


View my data research site on climate change.

As part of my thesis research, I wanted to look into natural disasters that had occurred in the past 10 years. FEMA has extensive data, that goes back to 1953 and broken down to towns in each state.

Here is a snapshot of FEMA’s data. Very detailed and a lot of information to look through.


With this data, I decided to create data visualization using leaflet.js and d3.js. I only concentrated on water-based emergencies, meaning hurricanes, severe storms, and floods (including flash floods).

According to the data, every state has experienced a disaster. Severe storms are most common disasters here in the U.S. Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma had the most disasters in the last 10 years.

With climate change, sea levels are rising and these types of disasters will be much more common in the next few years.

Workshop at Frog Design

After interning at Frog design over the summer, I got an opportunity to visit them and update Froggers with my thesis. I took this opportunity to create a workshop. From my 5 ideas, I decided to pursue the lamp post/traffic light idea (See 5 ideas) and wanted to get feedback validate my assumptions and reactions to ideas proposed.

Problem Statement


Assumption 1: Street and traffic lights are the best options to be used for temporary users for post-disaster settings.


Assumption 2: Creating and add-on to an existing infrastructure would be cheaper and faster, rather than building something new.



Assumption 3:  Panic due to lack of information ad communication are major issues after a disaster.


Opportunities areas

1. Communication: thesis-elushika-nov8-012To use street and traffic lights to provide electricity and low bandwidth wifi, that will allow people to communicate with remote family/friends until help arrives.

Thoughts from Frog: 

  • Create a block-wide mesh network, so that if one is destroyed, there are many back-ups.
  • Charging the phone is a bigger issue
  • OLED street signs could highlight evacuation routes
  • Solar panels to re-absorb light


thesis-elushika-nov8-0142. Information update: To use street and traffic lights to inform residents when help would arrive. “FEMA will arrive in 1 day”

Thoughts from Frog:

  • If I am connecting to the internet through street lamps, I could get alerts from the phone. This should be combined with communication
  • Use a speaker, instead of sign. There should be 1 per 2-3 blocks.
  • Projection messages in streetlights


thesis-elushika-nov8-0163. Water source: To use street and traffic lights to provide trusted drinkable water

Thoughts from Frog:

  • Requires heavy overhead from NYC politics
  • Consider storing and transporting water during a flood
  • Create a shower during crisis
  • What about a pump for clean water


thesis-elushika-nov8-0184. Warning: To use street and traffic lights to block off an intersection

Thoughts from Frog:

  • If you are in New York City, residents will not pay attention
  • Geo tracking on phones will tell people to stop when they are nearing a disaster area
  • Use lights as wayfinding devices
  • Find my location, by pressing a button on lamp post