• A Peek Behind the Curtain: The Process Behind UX Week 2011’s Visual Design

    Chris Risdon's blog post about the importance of documenting process as well as a recent Core77 article inspired us to share some of the thinking behind the visual design of materials for UX Week, Adaptive Path's big annual conference for user experience folk.

    The Adaptive Path visual designers and events team collaborated with designer Amber Reed to develop the UX Week 2011 identity. The final design conveys the bold, forward-thinking energy of the event while referencing classic interaction systems and symbols. It's not often that designers reveal the exploration behind their final designs but as Chris noted, “Artifacts are the record of our informed decisions, our synthesis and analysis. They are precious.”

    Below are some of the early directions behind the UX Week identity. The final design is reflected on the website and should you attend the event, in some pretty rad environmental graphics and conference schwag (moleskines, anyone?).

    Direction 1

    The UX field has been all abuzz lately with talk of service design. Direction 1 plays with the idea of a customer journey map as its central concept. It borrows from map and instructional graphics to convey a sense of an experience ecosystem. The subway-like lines and playful shapes offer endless opportunities to engage people with the conference space. Imagine following a bright green line on the conference floor and walls to find your workshop.

    Direction 2

    The UX Week logo in Direction 2 is based on a two-toned X (the shorthand for “experience” in our field). The diamond shapes of the logo assemble like puzzle pieces to form a ribbon or path. This green ribbon winds throughout the various pieces to create a dynamic, three dimensional look and feel. Like the direction above, this green ribbon can be incorporated into the conference space on floors and walls.

    Direction 3 

    Direction 3 takes its inspiration from navigational graphics and and urban signage. Brightly colored lines, arrows and directional symbols are closely cropped to give this concept a sense of immediacy. Urban signage is also referenced through the textured feel of graphics.

    Like all great clients we decided that we wanted a mash-up of all three directions. We were drawn to the highly abstracted navigational symbols in Direction 3. But we loved the bright, clean colors of Directions 1 and 2 and the potential for graphics to engage conference attendees in playful ways.

    The final design takes the best of all three directions, using bold colors and abstracted references to navigational signage. The graphic language is not just something to look at but will be employed to create an interactive conference experience. Underlying some of the activities that we've planned are the concepts of “journey” and “discovery.” Don't be surprised if a lunchtime activity takes you on a choose-your-own-adventure style path to meeting people and discovering content.

    Come and see for yourself! UX Week takes place August 23-26, 2011 at the Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF (1675 Owens Street, San Francisco). There are only a handful of seats left, register now and use code BLOG for 10% off your registration.

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