Birgit Palma created this illustration for the CokexAdobexYou challenge using Adobe Illustrator CC

What Do You Get When You Mix an Avant-Garde Artist, a Buddhist Temple, and Coca-Cola?

By Terri Stone

Coca-Cola is giving away its bottle—in digital form, that is. Thanks to the CokexAdobexYou challenge, anyone can download the Coke bottle, its script, and a basic brief. Incorporate the assets into a unique piece of art and share the results, and you’ll be part of something that helps others achieve their dreams: to celebrate the creative community, Coca-Cola will make a one-time contribution of $35,000 to Special Olympics. Illustrator and type designer Birgit Palma recently rose to the challenge. Here, she talks about her process.

Birgit Palma’s submission to the CokexAdobexYou challenge.

Create: What were your points of reference?

Birgit Palma: The brief’s main graphical element was a circle, and I was also inspired by the great artworks of Alexander Rodchenko to use circles as a base. I also referenced the Asakusa Kannon temple in Tokyo. 

Palma’s two reference images (left) and some of her paper sketches (right).

Palma: The shapes of all those elements are fascinating, and I decided to use their common symmetry as a base for my artwork. Symmetry means that all elements are arranged in the same way on both sides of an axis. To provoke a contrast, I used the naturally evolving intersections to disrupt the composition with illustrations and small triangle shapes. 

Create: What was your process?
Palma: It took me around a week, from starting to think about the concept, to drawing sketches and then the final artwork. There were many attempts that didn't make it into the final artwork, and I took quite some time to test the shades and the balance of the color. I also played with the idea of including type, but in the end I liked the artwork far better without. 

This 40-minute Adobe Illustrator CC speedup gives you a feel for Palma’s attention to detail.

Create: You mention colors. In your process animation [left], I see lots of bright colors. What made you go with red, white, and shades of grey instead?

Palma: Sometimes reduction is the key to a stronger artwork, especially if the artwork features a lot of smaller details. In the end, I decided to go for “less is more.” Red is a powerful, attention-catching color that doesn't need much more color around. Instead, I tried to balance it with black, and shades of red and black, and by giving the artwork a lot of white space.


Create: How did this project differ from your usual projects?

Palma: It was a project from two big-name brands that came along with big freedom. In a lot of cases, the client has limitations and some message they want to communicate with the piece. In this case, I was completely free to develop my own concept, message, and style. And normally I work with lots of colors, so that was also different.

To see more of Birgit Palma’s work, follow her on Behance.