Brand Direction & UX: Bolla (v.2022)

Justin Kwong / Ryan Bach / Nick Prost / Jon Sevik / Kyu Lee / Colton Denning / Mike Rhinehart / Chris Snyder
Mobile UX
Tools used
Figma / Photoshop
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Bolla is the crypto sportsbook for the hype culture. Having always wanted to work in sports, I joined Spodio in 2022 to lead the design and brand for its sportsbook, at that time called Betian. Betian needed to establish itself outside of traditional sportsbooks, whose primary user acquisition models solely lie on promotional offers, creating an unstable user base to rely on. During my first month at the helm of the product, we identified these key insights:

  • The spreadsheet-like user experience that is commonplace for navigating bets on betting platforms felt overwhelming and tedious to our audience. 
  • Most all betting websites operate on ancient platforms from a backend and a frontend standpoint, significantly limiting the user experience and gameplay.
  • The learning curve for betting is high, and betting is full of insider terms limiting what should be a simple experience.
  • At the same time, sports and hype were on a roll: companies like StockX, GOAT, and Supreme were pushing sportswear culture into the mainstream, while on the other side, Dapper Labs and Sorare were pushing Sports NFT to the masses. The common denominator between the two is the appetite for great design and branding, something missing in the world of betting.
  • The development of crypto also paralleled the development of betting, creating a risk-first culture and giving people new, more exciting opportunities to bet. The thrill that people get from sports betting is not unlike the ones people get when their crypto bets pay off. 

From these insights, we decided the reposition Betian at the intersection between sports, crypto, and hype culture. My team was responsible for creating a brand that would speak to these communities and reimagining the standard user interface for betting by designing a user experience for an audience that craves hype and excitement.

Hype culture and brands like Supreme, Off-White, and Fear of God have their own language and their own expression of high-end that we wanted to position Bolla along: we developed an identity that lifted heavily from the codes of high-end streetwear, infused with the energy and excitement of sports and gaming. After going with a hundred ideas with the leadership team, we zeroed in on a logo that feels bold, confident, and clean, carried by the geometry and the weight of the font chosen. We paired the logo with a sleek visual identity that bursts with energy at times, inspired by the likes of Hypebeast, Jordan, and NBA Topshot. In parallel to the brand development, we also redeveloped Bolla's design system, updating and creating more than 600 components.

We translated that energy into the UI of the platform, making sure it looks and feels different and, hopefully, more exciting and appealing at first glance. One of the core tenets of our product designs was demystifying the betting user experience: we clarified as much as possible every interaction, from depositing money to explaining betting lingo to clarifying bet rules; we wanted to make betting less intimidating and, by extension, more accessible.

While staying true to the classic betting UX known to millions of bettors worldwide, we also wanted to introduce newer, faster, more intuitive ways to bet. The standard betting UX looks like a spreadsheet of all the bets and games available, making the experience overwhelming unless you know exactly the bet you want to make. Instead of deciphering odds and betting terms, we looked into inspiration from more engaging apps, like dating apps, and looked to emulate your instinctual response when looking at someone's picture on dating apps. With the Snapbet feature, we presented users with straightforward, simple questions: Will the Golden State Warriors win? Will Haaland score a goal? Will both teams score? Swiping would take you to the next bet; your betting profile defines the bets shown to you, the teams you like betting on, the level of risk you're willing to go for, the type of bets you had success with, and so on. The initial feature release was a success: 94% of players used the feature once three months after its release - the average time to bet came down to 32s instead of 184s without Snap Bet - 35% of total bets taken on the platform were made through the Snap Bet platform.

Brand Direction & UX: Bolla (v.2022)

In the NFTs and social media era, we also wanted to reenvision the bet slip. One of the key insights from our research was more and more players liked to share their bets on social media - this provided an excellent opportunity for organic growth and branding. Hoping to appeal to fanbases on social media, we designed a custom betslip tailored for each bet placed - producing hundreds of custom backgrounds through automation. We intended for the betslips to be as eye-catching as possible on social media and, by doing so, drive brand awareness and growth simultaneously.

Bolla launched in Brazil, its initial market, on the eve of the World Cup, with a relentless social media and paid media campaign, including television, for which we provided creative direction, templates, and execution. The launch was a tremendous success: within a month, Bolla was the #1 sportsbook platform in Brazil in Tiktok and Instagram, making it the fastest-growing sportsbook in Latin America and bringing hundreds of thousands of users onto the platform.