Back from beautiful Whistler, where we held the 2010 Mozilla Summit – an exciting action-packed week of amazing demos, sessions, and more. The Summit is the largest gathering of leadership across the project, of key contributors and passionate Mozillians from all corners of the globe. It’s a rare occasion to have everyone in one place, a biennial reunion of massive proportions to celebrate our collective achievements and plan ahead for the future. It’s truly an inspiring event, and I’ve been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in two of them. This year was by far the largest, with over 600 attendees and 60 countries represented. To help set the right tone, I worked on creating the official Summit poster and visual identity:
The first step in the design process was defining a mood board and creative brief to capture the desired look and feel. Then, we needed to find the right illustrator to bring it all together. As we browsed various sites for inspiration (like Society6), we came across the work of Peskimo, a design team based in the UK that had a unique illustration style and a portfolio that matched what we were looking for. Over the few short weeks that followed, we worked on establishing the right design concept and iterated fast towards our deadline. The final artwork turned out absolutely awesome, and served as the core design theme that shaped the entire experience design of the Summit. Huge thanks to David and Jodie of Peskimo, the talented illustrators behind this original artwork.
A few words on the concept and art direction:
For the illustration style, we wanted to produce something different than past Mozilla artwork – stepping away from the retro-futuristic/sci-fi types of imagery that we tend to rely on, to create something appropriately bold, yet more organic. With that in mind, we took inspiration from the natural setting of Whistler to create a serene and green landscape. We established a softer/earthy palette as the foundation, with warmer/more vibrant accent colors to echo our brand and instill a sense of energy into the scene. A lot of thought went into the details of this poster, from the individual character designs to the arrangement of, and meaning behind, various elements. Although not terribly obvious, the green bolted path sweeping across the canvas is an abstract representation of the wild spirit of the web, harnessed and guided forward by the community as they march towards the future.
Designing the parade of characters was among the biggest challenges. How do you capture the notion of a global community in a way that people can relate to… without getting lost in the pixels or leaving something out? To do this, we focused on communicating the broader concept of diversity in a fun way, by creating a sea of whimsical characters (monsters, critters, etc) of different shapes, colors, and sizes to echo our own diverse community. Everything from the color of their eyes and freckled cheeks, to the various accessories they’re wearing was tweaked and iterated on until it felt right. The result was a cast of unique and lovable characters:
The attention to detail extends all the way to the back of the scene. Let your eyes wander deep into this parade, and you might even catch a few hidden easter eggs: The Firefox Robot and The Red Dino, woven in as a little nod to our past. Can you find them? If not, peek here.
A few words on the experience design:
Once the poster was finalized, we handed off the assets to Black & White, an agency we enlisted to manage the design experience of the Summit. With individual elements carefully extracted, the artwork was extended across a variety of goods to brand every aspect of the event. From standard badges, to an array of colorful t-shirts, to decorative cut-outs guiding your way around the hotel, to giant prints draping the keynote hall, and much more… we held nothing back. The final surprise was unveiled on the last night when we were greeted by three featured characters at the top of Blackcomb mountain where we danced the night away. Special thanks to the brave souls who stepped into those costumes and brought them to life. What a memorable evening, and what an amazing Summit! Hope everyone enjoyed these little critters as much as I did.
So, where do these Mozillian characters go from here? A lot of people have expressed interest in having the source files made available to the community so that they can remix and use them for various other projects. Although I’m thrilled to hear that the illustrations were a big hit, we unfortunately won’t be able to release them into the wild. The poster was created as a special artwork specific to this year’s Summit only. Even materials like the t-shirts that you received were limited edition prints for the Summit and will not be available anywhere else. Consider them rare memorabilia encapsulating your 2010 Summit experience. We do however have desktop backgrounds, here. Enjoy!