After 8 years in NYC, I was ready for a change, and LA was calling my name. Lucky for me, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to jump coasts: I was asked by one of Oscar’s co-founders to lead creative for his new start-up based in Venice (on Abbot Kinney, no less). All we had when I started was a name, a domain, a team of rockstars, and an ambitious mission: rethink retirement.
Head of Design
Built the initial brand from scratch.
UX and UI design for all web tools and platforms.
Spearheaded our content effort and managed content team.
Member of company leadership team.
Much like Oscar, our CEO’s reason for tackling this problem was personal. He’d watched his parents struggle with their own retirement decisions and was amazed how complex the process was, and how bad the resources available online were at providing meaningful help. It also felt like a natural progression for many of us on the team who had previously worked together at Oscar. We could take our extensive experience in healthcare innovation and apply it in a new context. I was also personally excited to address a huge — but underserved — audience in the tech space: the Baby Boomer generation.
The first order of business: establish the brand of Renew. When I started, the company was just 7 people, and everyone was intimately involved in establishing who we wanted to be as a company.
To start the conversation, I led several group discussions about potential brand directions, complete with quick mockups of imagined collateral for a company that barely existed. My designs were meant to be conversation starters, and they certainly provoked strong and disparate responses. They feel strange to look at now, knowing the direction we chose, but at the time the entity of “Renew” was truly a blank slate, and the brand voice was ours to define.
I knew we wanted to be different, and I enjoyed pushing the boundaries of what was expected from a company in this space, serving this age group. We knew our audience was more vital and savvy than they’re often portrayed, and we wanted our brand to reflect that, while naturally setting us apart from others in the space.
After a few rounds of feedback with the leadership team, we established the core features of a brand system for Renew. The color palette evokes a joyful celebration, the logo is straightforward but with a subtle wink, and the type family has enough personality to work across all types of touchpoints. I intentionally built a system that was bold, yet flexible. We were just beginning to establish ourselves as a company, and we wisely left ourselves some room to grow.
As we continued to grow as a company, so did our understanding of our customers. One thing that stood out was just how little people entering retirement knew about the process before they began it. Many relied on anecdotal advice from friends, while others simply stuck with the carrier they’d had before without researching other options.
It was hard to blame them. There just aren’t many good, reliable sources of Medicare information online. Some sites existed, but many had inherent biases, overly technical language, or information that was just plain wrong. We decided to build our own retirement destination, the “Retirement Hub”, with easy to understand articles, interactive tools, and engaging video.
Originally focused solely on Medicare, we quickly expanded to cover other topics, including finances, Social Security, time management, and even finding purpose and making new friends. We also started promoting our content on Facebook, and saw extraordinary engagement, reaching 10% conversion to newsletter subscribers on our most popular articles. Clearly there was an unmet need for this type of content, and we were more than happy to fill it.
Our goal in creating the Hub was to make content that people actually wanted to engage with. Fun, stylized hero illustrations in an bold color palette was our way of showing that learning about retirement doesn’t need to be a chore. This imagery was also used in our marketing materials as a way to capture attention and set ourselves apart from competitors in the space. It was also just plain fun to make.
I created these three pieces to represent our three main verticals of content: Health, Money, and Time.
After our initial launch in California, we set our sights on becoming a national Medicare brokerage, with plans available from top carriers in all 50 states. This increased scale meant we needed to get serious about our customer experience. We revamped our Medicare shopping portal, and in just a year we had near feature parity with much more established players in the space, including side‑by‑side comparisons, sharing functionality, and accurate month‑by‑month price estimates for every drug on every plan.
All examples shown are for illustrative purposes only and do not show accurate plan details, prices, or benefits.
My role was to oversee the design of our fully responsive e-commerce Medicare platform. As I delved once again into the complexities of insurance plan structures, I was especially grateful for my experiences at Oscar, except this time I was working with over 10 companies’ plans instead of just our own.
One area that felt especially resonant was our drug input tool. Years ago, I built a similar tool for the Oscar member portal, and I was happy for the opportunity to reimagine this vital functionality again. Below are several steps in the flow for our responsive web users.
At Renew, there was never a shortage of innovative ideas. The “Medicare Monitor” was one of my favorites that never saw the light of day. The idea was simple, provide users a live snapshot of their plan’s status, as well as how it stacks up to other plans in the area.
The data needed for comparisons like these are nearly impossible to come by. Using our position as an unbiased broker would allow us to surface this info and provide a uniquely valuable service. In the process, we would build an engaged audience for relevant messaging and repeat engagement. I would have loved to bring this vision to life, but it was also fun just to imagine the ideal experience with no strings attached.