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About John Slater

Author Archive | John Slater

Creating a New Look for Mozilla.com

We’ve been working on a Mozilla.com redesign to coincide with the Firefox 3 launch for a few weeks (check out my earlier post for a refresher on project goals and other details), and now have four early-stage design directions to consider. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, definitely take a look at the options and let us know what you think. It wouldn’t really be a Mozilla project without community input, and and your feedback (along with thoughts from Mozilla Japan, Mozilla Europe, etc) will be extremely helpful towards us deciding which direction to pursue.

The key thing to remember as you review is that this is the first step in a long process rather than a vote between four final choices. In other words, these are design directions rather than final designs, so it’s best to consider the overall look & feel rather than focusing on specifics like photography, text, etc. That stuff is mostly placeholder and almost certainly will change before all is said and done.

With that caveat in mind, check out the options and leave a comment below with your thoughts. Thanks!

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Operation Firefox: The Next Phase

As Andrew and Seth have already noted, Operation Firefox launched last month with a call for people to submit their plans to publicly display a Firefox Fathead sticker in the most interesting and eye-catching possible (legal) fashion.

We knew the success of this program would depend on whether or not people would rise to the challenge of coming up with great ideas and so far things are looking good: the initial phase of the contest ended last Friday, and we received a grand total of 3200 submissions. Very cool!

From a creative perspective, our goal was to create a website that would fire up people’s imaginations and inspire them to participate. This was a particularly fun project to brainstorm about, as we kicked around inspirational ideas ranging from James Bond to the A-Team. For the design, we turned to our friends at Nobox, and they made the astute call that site should resemble the secret hideout of an underground resistance movement rather than the slick style of a 007 HQ…hence the basement shadows and hand-sketched mission plans. It was also very important that every last bit of site text support this concept, so we worked with Elise Allen, who managed to incorporate influences from Fight Club to Flash Mobs into her copy.

The finalists have until December 3rd to execute their plans, and the winners will be announced shortly afterwards. All 50 Fatheads have been shipped to the finalists, so keep an eye out for giant Firefox logos popping up in strange locations over the next few weeks!

Operation Firefox homepage

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Rocking Your Firefox Just a Little Bit More

You’ve very likely already read about Rock Your Firefox, the cool new Facebook app that enhances the Firefox Add-ons experience. What you haven’t read about until now is the previously secret Sesame Street connection.

As we were branding the program, Justin Scott wanted an eye-catching design that would make Rock Your Firefox stand out from all the other Facebook apps out there. We hit upon the idea of using a loud 70s graphic style to get our point across. I then contacted Lee Tom, a designer who did an excellent job of translating all my random thoughts and pop culture references into this:

One of the pop culture references I gave Lee as direction was this extremely groovy vintage Sesame Street clip. I’m probably dating myself here, but it was one of my favorite things as a kid and I was very happy to find it on YouTube several weeks ago (completely unrelated to this project). You’ll see the influence on Rock Your Firefox as you watch:

So that’s the story behind the story. And if you’re into this design, I should mention that Rock Your Firefox desktop wallpaper is available in several sizes here.

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Welcome to Paradise

Every major Firefox update is referred to by a code name during its pre-release period. The names come from major parks around the world…Firefox 1.5 was Deer Park, Firefox 2 was Bon Echo, and Firefox 3 is Gran Paradiso.

Gran Paradiso is well underway, of course, so it’s time to give it a visual identity of its own (for comparison, here’s the Bon Echo identity). The name evokes images of travel from an earlier, more glamorous era so we decided to center our campaign around a vintage travel theme.

The first step was to bring our fictional place called Gran Paradiso to life in the form of a poster by artist Steve Forney. The final art is below (makes Gran Paradiso look like a pretty pleasant place to hang out, if you ask me)…we’ve printed up posters, created desktop wallpaper and are planning other surprises for the next few months.

One really important thing to keep in mind is that this is strictly an internal campaign, meaning it’s purely for the enjoyment of everyone in the Mozilla community who’s working on the Gran Paradiso project. It’s most definitely not intended to be promotional or customer-facing in any way.

So, without further ado, welcome to Gran Paradiso (click for a larger image):


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Greetings, and welcome to Into the Fuzz!

First, a bit about myself. I’m the Creative Director at Mozilla, which basically means that I’m the least technically skilled person in the entire company. I joined Mozilla in March to help guide the evolution of the brand and work on a wide variety of design-type projects. Stay tuned for plenty of details on those…

Among other things, I’d like this blog to be an ongoing dialogue with you guys out in the community about what Mozilla is (in an abstract sense). I’ll also be posting a lot of examples of creative works-in-progress and inviting your comments. My goal is to make this blog a fun & easy read with lots of interesting stuff to look at.

On a personal note, I live in Oakland with my wife, two-year old son and two cats. Prior to Mozilla, I worked for many years at Ofoto, starting as the copywriter and then managing the creative department there. I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas but have lived in the Bay Area since 1996. When not doing Mozilla stuff, I mainly like to hang out with my family, but also find time to play bass guitar and work on my ping pong game.

So, that’s it for now…stay tuned for lots more, and thanks for reading!

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