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Building a Mozilla Visual Design Community

The Mozilla community has achieved more incredible things than I can count, and includes experts dedicated to disciplines ranging from software development to customer support to marketing to QA and much more. But, one key area that’s traditionally lacked an organized community is visual design.

Art is such a powerful form of communication, and over the past 11 years we’ve built up such a large body of iconic Mozilla imagery, that building a true community around it seems like the next logical step. Helping make this a reality is one of my biggest goals for 2009, and between our efforts so far on the Mozilla Creative Collective and the cool stuff happening around Personas we’ve already made some great strides toward that goal (with much more to come!).

So, with all that in mind, I’m really excited about our new partnership with the folks at Infectious. As Jay Patel announced yesterday, we’ve teamed up with them and their own community of artists to create a series of pieces inspired by Firefox. To help celebrate the upcoming 3.5 release, this artwork is available in a variety of formats, including iPhone skins, laptop stickers, car decals and more at the Infectious site, plus t-shirts and personas. Definitely check it out.

At the start of this project we gave the artists a series of classic Mozilla & Firefox values – community, innovation, idealism, open source and performance – and asked them to interpret them in their own styles. It was really fun to watch these talented artists use these basic themes in such different ways to produce such diverse results.

And, we’re just getting started. Next month we’ll team up with Infectious again to launch an open design initiative based around the same concepts and ideals listed above. It’ll also coincide with the beta launch of the Creative Collective site, which will be another huge step forward for our growing community (much more info on that coming soon).

Lastly, big thanks to the five artists – ZeptonnDavid LanhamEtsu MeusyReuben Rude and Paulo Arraiano – who contributed their talents to this project. Really inspiring stuff.

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Announcing the Mozilla Creative Collective

As I’ve mentioned in the past, building up Mozilla’s visual design community is one of my (and Tara’s) top priorities for 2009. There are already designers out there doing good work, of course, but the larger scale possibilities are nearly limitless if we get more organized and continue to bring more people into the fold.

With that in mind, I’m excited to announce the Mozilla Creative Collective. The idea is to build on what we started with past projects like the Firefox 3 T-shirt Contest and the Community Store by creating an online hub where our community activity can take place.

In some ways this is inspired by the concept behind wartime propaganda posters (although I should be clear that this is neither war nor propaganda): using widely distributed and well-made art to convey a message. In this case, we want to make it possible for people to cover the web with art inspired by Firefox (and other Mozilla products). We also want to create an online social environment where designers and non-designers alike can connect and collaborate in a positive, communal atmosphere.

Right now we’re still in the planning stages and are dreaming big. One way we want to encourage participation is by building in functionality that allows for regular design challenges. For example, we might issue a challenge to create art that represents Firefox’s speed, with the ‘winner’ to be determined by the ratings provided by others in the community.

Another component would be a job board of sorts, where non-designers can request design work for their Mozilla projects. The idea is that a student in India who’s hosting a download party at his college’s computer lab could request a design for a promotional flyer and have it be created by someone in, say, Poland. Then, that design could be posted publicly and be reused by community members for their own campaigns.

You can read more details about our plan on its wiki page. It’s ambitious and will be a lot of work, but should be a fun process. We’ve enlisted Airbag Industries to help us design the site, and of course the amazing Mozilla Web Dev team has proven time and time again that they can build literally anything that we can dream up.

Lastly, if you like the sound of this and want to be more involved with the Mozilla visual design community, I highly recommend signing up for our mailing list. I’ll be blogging more about this project, of course, but the list is a good way to stay very up-to-date on all the latest happenings.

That’s it for now…more to come!

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