With a total of 314 votes, I’m excited to announce “Happy and Snappy” as the winner of our recent Creative Collective challenge for Firefox 4. While there were many great designs to choose from, this was definitely among my personal favorites… and I’m looking forward to wearing it both as a shirt as well as my Persona.
Our winning designer, Koen Hendrix (@koenhendrix), is a web UX designer and developer based in the UK and a longtime fan of Firefox. He was also among our more prolific artists with four really great design submissions — all rendered in a fun retro inspired style. I thought it would be interesting to learn a little more about Koen’s background, how he got introduced to Mozilla, and his creative process going into this particular design. So I asked him a few questions over email, and (with his permission) am sharing the responses below.
Congrats to Koen! We love this design and hope to see more from you in the near future.
About the designer, Koen Hendrix:
* What was your creative process and inspiration for the various artwork you did for the challenge? Specifically, the Happy and Snappy artwork that won.
My first thoughts were fairly rudimentary – I remember reading the brief and thinking “Firefox. Four. Fast. Fresh. Fun – OMG there are so many Fs this’ll be great”. But after some sketching I realized that simply re-using the F’s wasn’t the right approach, and also something that a lot of other designers were doing. So, I started looking for different ways of expressing the joy of Firefox, and differentiating myself from the other submissions.
* How would you describe your style? What are your influences?
I wouldn’t say that I’ve got one particular style, and since I’m not a real graphic designer I’m not looking to define my own style. I like to keep up with and follow what’s hot in the web design world. Currently I’m intrigued by all the ways that people are combining elements from the ‘web 2.0’ look (sleek gradients and reflections) with retro elements (typically limited-palette textured stuff).
Online, I am in love with Veerle’s Inpiration Stream. It’s just so well curated and matches my own interests. I discover a lot of inspirational posts from various web design blogs by following the Smashing Network feed. Offline, I like museums – we’ve got a couple of great ones in Liverpool and London isn’t far away either. I also have a particular interest in typography, so I pay close attention to type on posters, covers and so forth.
* How did you originally get interested in design?
I liked to draw when I was a kid, I remember that. I was generally very interested in tech stuff and good at math so I went on to study Computer Science. There I learned that while there was a whole world of protocols and databases underneath computers, there was also a user side to focus on, so I drifted towards UI design, ergonomics, visualizations and industrial design, learning about usability and the history of design. Afterwards I did another degree (in User-System Interaction) where I got to work alongside media designers and psychologists for two years. That was a fantastic experience, broadening my view and expertise from computer-scientist-with-an-interest to full-fledged UX designer.
* What led you to become involved with Mozilla? And how did you find out about the Creative Collective?
I’ve been an avid Firefox user for years and had actually wanted to buy a shirt to support Mozilla for a while. But I just hadn’t seen a design I really liked; just a Firefox logo on blue or black didn’t do it for me (I didn’t even know about the Mozilla Community Store – shame on me). So when the chance came along to design my own, I jumped at it… learning more about the Creative Collective (and the great initiatives from Mozilla Labs) along the way. I definitely want to keep contributing!
* Anything else you’d like to share with me, or the wider design/Firefox community?
If you love the web, give something back. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Just cast your little vote with some effort and/or your wallet. Have you been using Wikipedia for years now, like me? Are you glad that’s it’s always there for you to consult? Then give something back, go make their articles better, or donate. Relying on Firefox, Firebug or some other plugin every day? Then get involved in keeping it great. If you care about the web, actively support the things that you think are great and worth preserving.