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2013 in Review: Launching Firefox OS

*Crossposted from about:pixels*

Looking back over 2013, the project that really defined the year for me was launching Firefox OS on three devices in 14 different countries (to be accurate, it was a series of many projects rather than a single one, but bear with me). It was very satisfying on both a personal and professional level to help advance a new era for Mozilla, expand the Firefox brand in an exciting direction and work with a great team of people to make it all happen.

I particularly enjoyed that the launches required so many different kinds of work. Please allow me to go to bullet points for an incomplete list of some of the highlights:

* creating two new websites to introduce the product to both business and consumer audiences (as detailed by Ty here)
* overseeing the look and feel of our very successful presence at Mobile World Congress 2013
* launching out-of-home campaigns in several markets (the giant, building-sized billboard in Warsaw being a particular favorite)
* developing a visual identity (fox illustrations, color palette, font system, etc) to be used across all these materials
* incorporating the visual identity details into our style guide for easier use by partners and community members
* creating several different videos to communicate the product benefits and details
* working with the always-amazing Mozilla community in multiple continents
* helping partners incorporate our style and messaging into their own materials
* generally building out an entire system that effectively tells the story of Firefox OS and is flexible to be used pretty much anywhere and everywhere

Overall, it was a challenging, inspiring, mind-expanding set of projects, and I couldn’t be happier about the results. And, it goes without saying that I certainly didn’t do all this by myself…working with our world-class creative team plus all the other Mozillians involved was probably my favorite part of all.

On a closing note, here’s a nice video detailing our Poland launch last summer that nicely captures the spirit of what we were doing:

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2013 in Review: The Creative Team Looks Back

*Crossposted from about:pixels*

2013 was a very big year for Mozilla. And, as people across the organization focused on blowing minds at Mobile World Congress, launching Firefox OS in countries around the world, inspiring Mozillians at three simultaneous Summits and many other projects big and small, the Creative team was there the whole way to help bring our stories to life and make sure everything looked great.

With that in mind, we here at Team Fistbump have decided to do a retrospective highlighting some of our favorite work over the last 12 months. Rather than a comprehensive overview, each of us will be sharing some thoughts on a single project we particularly enjoyed. My hope is that you’ll come away with a sense of what motivates and inspires the group, along with a big picture look at how we fit into the wild, wacky world of Mozilla.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be publishing one post per day. I’ll be updating the list below with active links as they happen, so be sure to check back regularly and see how it’s taking shape. Here’s the schedule, so be sure to plan your blog-reading accordingly:

* Dec. 10: Matej Novak — Not Averse to Verse
* Dec. 11: Ty Flanagan — Aspiring Towards and Accomplishing Wonders
* Dec. 12: Rainer Cvillink — Sometimes You Get a Glimpse into the Future
* Dec. 13: Jennifer Balaco — A Welcome Kit for All Mozillians
* Dec. 16: Sean Martell — Such Logo
* Dec. 17: John Slater — Launching Firefox OS
* Dec. 18: Spencer Hui — The Journey of Firefox OS
* Dec. 19: Lee Tom — A Visual Roundup
* Dec. 20: Matt Ternoway — Going Social

Hope 2013 was a great year for you. See you in 2014!

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Quick Tips: Working With the Creative Team

*Crossposted from about:pixels*

As leader of the creative team here at Mozilla, I’m often asked about the best way to work with my group. What kind of info do we need to kick off a project? Is a creative brief really necessary? Do we have a process, and what is it, anyway?

Quite rightly, people want to know these sorts of things, and while I’m always happy to discuss in person I also thought it would be helpful to put a few basic tips into a video for the Capture Mozilla series. So, if you’ve ever wondered about the best way to engage the Mozilla creative team (or perhaps the similar team at your organization, if that’s more relevant to you), then sit back for three minutes and enjoy:

Big thanks to our awesome community member Sean Bolton for his help putting the video together. And if you liked this one we have a few others like it in the works, so stay tuned for more coming soon.

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The Firefox Brand Toolkit Is Here!

Firefox Brand Toolkit: Logo Page

Exciting news: today we launched phase 1 of the Firefox Brand Toolkit. The goal of the site is to provide the information needed to properly communicate what Firefox is all about in a consistent and on-message way, so it includes logo downloads*, a copy style guide, sample website assets, positioning info and more. Plus, it’s open to all to ensure maximum usefulness to our global community of Mozillians.

When I first wrote about this project a couple of months ago, I referenced what an incredibly important asset the Firefox brand is. For hundreds of millions of people around the world, it stands for a commitment to putting the user first and always striving to make the web better. It embodies both a rich history and exciting future.

And, because of Mozilla’s open nature it’s the responsibility of all of us to protect it and help it grow the right way. That means speaking in a consistent voice, and making sure *all* our user-facing communications have a common tone and visual feel. That’s not always easy, but our hope is that this toolkit will be a key step toward making that happen.

So, please browse through the toolkit and, next time you’re putting together a website, information for an event or anything else Firefox-related, be sure to keep it in mind…I hope it will be a big help. Also, we know there’s more that could be added, so please let us know what you’d like to see in phase 2.

Huge kudos are due to Sean Martell and Matej Novak for leading the effort to put this toolkit together…really stellar work on their part. Also, many thanks to Steven Garrity and the silverorange team for building it.

Thanks!

* The vector files aren’t up there yet, but thanks to bug 476604 being resolved recently they soon will be.

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Moving Toward One Mozilla

I think it was back in 2009 or so when, over a game of ping pong, David Boswell and I started talking about the idea of unifying all the various Mozilla websites under a common domain. The concept of bringing everything together to create a One Mozilla site was pretty great, we agreed, but the thought of actually doing it seemed almost impossibly daunting.

Fast forward a couple of years to the summer of 2011 and, thanks to many hours of hard work by a lot of awesome people, we’re now on the verge of major step towards doing just that. In the next few weeks, we’ll be merging mozilla.com and the various European Firefox product sites back into mozilla.org (the Thunderbird product site already did this last month). As a result, mozilla.com will essentially cease to exist in its current form – all those millions of visitors that have made it one of the world’s most highly trafficked websites will wind up on mozilla.org/firefox instead.

This isn’t just an exercise in domain management, either – it’s a big step forward in terms of how users interact with us online and how we present ourselves to the world. The reasons behind One Mozilla include:
* building a better platform for communicating the mission and explaining why we do what we do. For example, we know people respond well when they realize Firefox is made by a non-profit, so by hosting our product site on the .org domain we make that point more clear and avoid the confusion created by having both a mozilla.org and a mozilla.com.
* providing more relevant and easily discoverable content for users.
* create a more efficient vehicle for talking about both our current products as well as exciting new ones.

I should probably stop here and note that I’m getting a little ahead of myself – this initial step will join the domains, but in the immediate future the sites will continue to have different core designs (mozilla.org and mozilla.org/firefox will still look different) and be powered by different technical infrastructures. The URL merge is a big leap forward, but there’s still a lot of work to be done on both the front and back ends. We’ll be sure to conduct that process in the open (I’m looking forward to discussing the design evolution, for example) and the team will be posting about ways you can get involved soon.

Lastly, this is a big enough project that it warrants more than one blog post, so keep an eye out for the following updates later this week:
* Chrissie Brodigan on the subject of how we got to this point and what’s happening next
* James Long on the technical magic behind the merge
* David Boswell on what this means for our regional community sites

Much more to come!

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Firefox Meets Caltrain

This is a few weeks overdue, but as part of the same project that produced the series of billboards currently dotting the Bay Area, we also did a ‘takeover’ of the main San Francisco Caltrain station. For those of you reading this from a different part of the world, this station is a key point in many people’s commutes from San Francisco to Silicon Valley (and vice versa), not to mention those going to SF Giants games, so it’s a good spot for us to be.

I’ve included a few photos below, but you can see the full set on my Flickr page. Next steps: bring our brand story to a more global audience, and create tools that can empower our community to spread the word themselves. More on that soon!

Firefox Meets Caltrain

Firefox Meets Caltrain

Firefox Meets Caltrain

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Open Source Design In Action (Or, London Gets Happy and Snappy)

I love it when a plan comes together: Koen Hendrix gets involved in the Creative Collective, wins the Firefox 4 t-shirt challenge, gets invited to the launch party in London and the result is t-shirty goodness for everyone.

Here’s Koen showing off his handiwork:
Firefox 4 Launch Party

And here’s the *whole crowd* showing off his handiwork:
Firefox 4 Launch Party

(Photos by Desigan Chinniah, aka the one and only @cyberdees)

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News and Notes from the Mozilla Creative Team

The Creative team here at Mozilla has been growing rapidly lately, so it feels like a good time to share a quick update on who we are and what we’re doing.

As background, we’re part of the broader Engagement team within Mozilla and are tasked with communicating the Mozilla Firefox story through visual design, copywriting, brand projects and website management. The group includes two veteran Mozillians who in the last several months have taken on exciting new roles:

Sean Martell, Visual Design Lead (blog/twitter) – Sean joined us in December after previously working as the designer for Mozilla Labs, where he spent the last couple of years creating amazing websites, t-shirts, logos and pretty much anything else he could think up. He’s now the visual design lead for all of Mozilla, and is continuing to lend his talents to individual projects while also helping to set our more longterm strategic visual direction.

Tara Shahian, Creative Manager (blog/twitter)- During her 3+ years at Mozilla, Tara has worked on everything from building our design community to producing engaging videos to leading the visual style of the various Fx4 social media efforts. In her new role (which she’s actually been doing since last year), she brings her creativity and attention to detail to managing our many copy and/or design projects and driving art direction for various campaigns.

We’ve also added four awesome new members to the team in the last few months. Please welcome:

Chrissie Brodigan, Website Engagement Lead (blog/twitter)- Chrissie joined us in February, and is tasked with leading mozilla.com’s content strategy, user testing, long term roadmapping and more. Folks who went to SXSW this year may recall her well-received session about bringing designers into the world of open source.

Laura Forrest, Website Marketing Manager (blog/twitter) – Laura started as a contractor last summer, and quickly proved herself indispensable. She leads the onsite marketing efforts on mozilla.com, leads our bimonthly mozilla.com site releases, acts as the team’s resident metrics expert, manages the snippet program and more.

Matej Novak, Copywriter (blog/twitter) – Matej is Mozilla’s first ever full-time copywriter, and has already made his presence felt by providing the words for a variety of Firefox 4 campaigns. If you need help with site copy, catchy phrases, product/feature naming or debates about proper sentence construction he’s your man.

Lee Tom, Visual Designer – Lee also started with us as a contractor last year before going full-time, and has already helped shape the look of mozilla.com, mozilla.org, email newsletters, Rock Your Firefox and much more. He’s probably designed at least one of the Firefox t-shirts you own, too.

Please join me in congratulating/welcoming all the above.

IMG_2417

[We're on a boat: David Boswell (special guest), Laura, Matej, Tara, Chrissie, John, Sean, Lee]

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Taking Our Message to the Streets (Literally)

One of the big recent goals of the Engagement team has been to hone the Mozilla Firefox brand message and make it a part of all our communications around the Firefox 4 launch (and beyond). We’re also taking that a step further by launching specific campaigns to help people better understand who we are and what we’re all about.

I’m happy to report that the first of these initiatives launched this week as a series of billboards around the SF Bay Area. They’ll be up roughly through the end of April, and if the response is positive we’ll plan on bringing this message (perhaps in different formats) more worldwide. Starting next week you’ll also notice a very large Firefox presence at the San Francisco Caltrain station.

I’ve included a few pictures below, but if you want to see many more just click here and here.

Also, if you’re in the Bay Area and want to see them for yourself (they’re quite impressive in person!), here’s the full list of locations:

101 @ Whipple Ave
I-80 @ Bay Bridge Toll Plaza
I-80 @ Berkeley
SF: Washington & Battery
SF: Kearny & Market
SF: Union Square
SF: Mission & 6th (begins on April 4)
SF: 2nd & Howard
SF: Lombard & Scott (begins on April 18)
SF: Caltrain station (begins on April 4)

Firefox Outdoor (April 11)

Firefox Outdoor (April 11)

Firefox Outdoor (April 11)

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Firefox 4: Building a Better Biosphere?

Biosphere Up Close

The first Firefox 4 beta was released two days ago – a big milestone for both Mozilla and the web in general. So, to commemorate the occasion we’ve started a new series of first run page illustrations in the same vein as the Firefox 3 robot saga from a couple of years ago.

Because the beta process is really all about people in our worldwide community working together to build a better product (there are a few different ways you can help by providing feedback while you browse), the illustration is meant to represent that collaborative, innovative spirit. I’ll leave the specifics a mystery for now, but it seems as if it’s taking place in some sort of futuristic biosphere. The initial artwork for beta 1 is only the first in a series, so keep downloading those betas as they’re released to watch the story unfold!

The artwork is inspired by the work of 20th century futurists like Klaus Bürgle…as a kid, I was always fascinated by drawings of futuristic cities like this, so it’s fun to see a Mozilla version taking shape. The illustration itself was done by the very talented Steven Olds, with additional guidance and ideation from Tim Hogan and our friends at the Royal Order. Big thanks to those guys.

Lastly, if you’d like to see a big version of the artwork without the text and other design elements on top, I’ve got one in my Flickr account: check it out.

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