How do you get various teams from around the company to work together? SXSW was the most important event for Wix Music this year, and there was a lot of collaborative design work involved. Here’s how it was done.
- Text Dafna Sharabi
- Images Wix Music Team
- Date November 13, 2016
- Est Read time 4 min
Posters, temporary tattoos, video mapping, giant signs, flags, T-shirts, hats, hoodies, cutout foam board, coupons, landing pages, animations, email marketing, Facebook posts – and the list goes on! All of these countless elements had to be taken into consideration when we were coming up with the branding for one of the most exciting events of the year – Wix’s first time participating in the SXSW Festival.
Being part of this awesome festival for the first time presented us with many challenges, and I’m only speaking on behalf of the design team. As you can imagine, this extensive range of formats can be quite a task! Not to mention the fact that we’re located in Tel Aviv and the SXSW venue is in Austin, Texas. That’s only 11,420 kilometers and 16.5 flight hours away!
Challenge #1 – Creating a System
But first things first – concept! We realized we needed to find a graphic language that would: a) represent our values in the best way and, b) work both online and offline, whether it was something big, small or animated. As we searched for our path we began in a very special collaboration with graffiti artists Broken Fingaz and worked together to create a look that felt right for us: cool, grungy, up-beat and versatile.
Because we had so many people from different teams in the studio working simultaneously on all the graphic elements, we had to simplify everything as much as possible. That’s why we decided to create an image bank of illustrations. Each of the illustrations would have to work well on its own, but it would also need to look good when paired with other illustrations. This system and the variety of elements allowed us to create a large volume of materials that felt both versatile and harmonic. This specific style, along with the diversity it offered, gave our event a very fun and memorable look and feel.
Challenge #2 – Remote Design
Another challenge for us was the branding of the venue itself. To be specific – the fact that we were dealing with a large event taking place far away made our work much more difficult. We had to plan and design a space that we wouldn’t be able to see or visit before the actual event. What we did have were images of the location, floorplans and measurements. We used those as best we could in order to create demos and simulations for our designs.
Challenge #3 – Stunning Around the clock
Our venue – The Main – had both an indoor and outdoor area. Obviously we wanted both to look amazing day and night, which turned out to be another challenging task. But the solution was right under our nose: in the studio! We have two super experienced designers, Guy Levin and Eliraz Dekalo, who specialize in video mapping – the perfect solution for the dark corners of the bar and the late night hours.
Video Mapping. Say What?!
Video mapping is this super cool technique that lets you project on a “masked” area of your choice, so your screening area is not a fixed regular square, but rather it is anything you want. This is what our expert Guy Levin says: “Once you have a 3D object to screen on, you map it with a special software and “cover” it with your design, allowing you later on to screen animations that create the illusion that the 3D object changes its shape.”
Our huge cut-out illustrations were very colorful and impressive in the daytime. But the real magic happened at night – as the lights went down, the video mapping went live, and the cut-outs were brought to life with crazy lights and specialized screenings.
Learning the Power of Learning
It wasn’t the first time we participated in a festival, nor the first time we worked on branding, or worked with so many design teams and outsourced artists. But still – it never ceases to amaze me how much you can learn from each new experience. Every time you think you have everything figured out – something or someone comes along and teaches you something new, helps you see the bigger picture, or points out small details you weren’t aware of.
Working on such a big project with print designers, web designers, graffiti artists, marketing experts and developers was a great opportunity that taught me a lot, I hope you learned something new, too :).