Last year, at the 2017 PEERS Conference, I floated the idea of updating the installer illustration for Craft CMS 3 to the head honcho and resident genius at Pixel & Tonic, Mr. Brandon Kelly. In addition to the fact that his karaoke skills will instantly remind you of an angrier, out-of-tune Henry Rollins from Black Flag, he's also a fan of good-ish drawering skills. I'd illustrated the installer screen for Craft CMS 1 years ago and it seemed to me that the impending release of the biggest update to his flagship product might be the perfect opportunity to update the installer artwork. A few months later, Brandon gave me a call. 

The Concept

Conceptually, he and his team wanted to explore the idea of "inclusivity" without getting too far into the weeds about how to broach a very touchy topic visually and do so without offending an equally touchy group of people (Please note: These are my words, not his ... But it's still 100% true. Deal with it). We eventually landed on the idea of exploring inclusivity through the locations where Craft CMS is being used around the world. Which, once again, brought up the specter of dealing with race and gender and all the baggage that comes along with that topic. It needed to be avoided like Coldplay. The question was how? The initial idea was to focus on landmarks from countries around the world which would have been interesting, but I concluded that the resulting illustration would have felt more like a travel advertisement than a representation of Craft.

After putting the concept through my brain's spin cycle, I expanded on the idea exponentially by including landmarks, mythical beasts and creatures from folklore, foods, and representative objects from specific countries. You'll also find a random assortment of web and nerd references to help round out the illustration for the tech crowd. The resulting piece is straight-up fun and successfully represents "inclusivity" without stepping on any social land mines. 


I created three different versions of the center area that literally plug into the open space to accommodate potential uses: 

In all, twenty-three countries and locations are represented (objects vary based on center art):

  • NYC - Lady Liberty, pizza

  • PNW (Seattle, Portland, Bend) - Sasquatch, pint glass, hop bud

  • SF - San Francisco is a city

  • UK - London Bridge

  • Germany - pretzel, brat on fork, beer

  • India - Airavata

  • Australia - Rainbow Serpent, boomarang

  • South Africa - flower with mountain graphic from national symbol

  • Canada eh - bacon, hockey stick

  • France - Eiffel Tower

  • Netherlands - wooden shoe, tulips, cheese

  • China - Chinese dragon

  • Spain - bull, olives, tomato

  • Singapore - lion fish

  • Japan - Kasa Obake, koi

  • Indonesia - flower, palm tree

  • Ireland - shamrock, pint glass

  • Norway - Viking helmet

  • Poland - brat, beer, bull (nothing unique about Poland's symbology)

  • Russia - Baba Yaga

  • Italy - wine bottle, wine glasses, olives, grapes

  • Saudi Arabia - dual swords from national symbol

  • Middle East - Bahamut

  • Nerds - Starship Enterprise, propeller beanie, alien ship

  • Bunch of other random and tech/web-related stuff

I had a blast creating this piece for Craft 3. It goes without saying that good people deserve good art. 

Thanks, Brandon and team Pixel & Tonic!


Learn how this illustration was created >>