Contradiction and Community
Forty-eight artists from across the globe create a unique representation of the Adobe Creative Cloud logo.
To celebrate the 2014 release of Creative Cloud, a design team at Adobe had a big idea for a project that would express the sometimes contradictory notions wrapped up in the release—notions like connection and disruption, individuality and community. The team envisioned a collaborative mosaic that would bring together artists from all over the world, with each artist creating one piece of a unified whole.
The piece’s inspiration and centerpiece was the Adobe Creative Cloud logo, which itself embodies contradiction: Its gentle swirls connote flow and continuity, while its broken curves suggest a break from the expected.
THE MAKING OF A MOSAIC
First, the team put the Creative Cloud logo on a grid of 48 sections that would be the Creative Cloud Mosaic’s individual pieces.
Then they scoured Behance, Adobe’s portfolio platform for creatives of every stripe, selected 48 artists, and asked each to contribute a tile—either an “atmospheric” tile (around the edges of the canvas) or a tile that contained a part of the logo’s curves.
This way, says Adobe Executive Creative Director AJ Joseph, each artist’s creative freedom ranged from “Hey, I have to work with this circle shape in the bottom right-hand corner [of my tile]” to “I can do whatever I want.”
The goal was to create something “super gritty and natural” and “thoroughly embedded in the community,” explains AJ.
But what defines “community” when the collaborators hail from disparate countries and cultures? The artists who signed on to this project include a vector illustrator, a puppet maker/stop-motion animator, and a typographer. Their inspirations range from art deco to newsprint to Japanese culture to undersea creatures.
What they share is a love of expression and experimentation.
PHOTOSHOP EXPERTISE NOT REQUIRED
Another Mosaic contributor was felt sculptor and videographer Hine Mizushima, a native of Japan who now lives in Vancouver, Canada, and who has worked on video projects with alt-rock group They Might Be Giants. Hine characterizes her work as “a bit retro, twisted, fun, nerdy, and cute, but in questionable taste,” and her inspiration stems from “Japanese retro culture and creatures like squids, octopi, slugs, mushrooms, and so on.” (See more of Hine’s work.)
THE CHALLENGE OF TOTAL ARTISTIC FREEDOM
Craig Ward, an illustrator, typographer, art director, author, and Brit who resides in New York, also designed a tile. Craig’s inspiration stems “from everywhere,” but specifically from typography and images that are “perhaps doing something they shouldn’t be doing.” He explains, “So broken, flickering neon signs or when posters have been misprinted, or when they’ve been torn down, or the ink has run down, or a newspaper has gone through the printer with a creased page. I like accidents—and I like to exploit accidents.” (See more of Craig’s work.)
His biggest challenge with the Mosaic project was creating a tile with almost no direction. “An open brief is the best and worst brief,” says Craig, “because it can inspire you or it can cripple you.”
Hine was equally moved when she saw the unveiling of the completed piece. “There was a big panel of my work on the outside wall of the Lincoln Center in New York. I was so surprised! It was more than I’d expected.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF INSPIRATION
Adobe’s AJ summarizes the importance of the piece, not only as the project’s lead but also as a graphic artist: “The piece is inspiring because there’s so much detail and there’s so much story in every single one of these [works]—and there’s so much experience in each one. If you go to a gallery, and you see five or six different artists, you can feel their experience and what they’re trying to communicate through their artwork. And this was like putting 48 of the best artists together from a whole bunch of different disciplines and just having a gallery be a part of one single image. It’s just an amazing work of art. Getting to be able to experience all of this at the same time is inspiring.”
(Want to start using your Adobe Creative Cloud apps but don't know where to begin? Check out these Creative Cloud tutorials.)