Branding and web to promote Keep Ruby Weird, a different kind of conference
A group of developers established a Ruby conference in Austin that focused in on weird vibes in Austin. While most of the talks (or songs, yup) still had a vague programming theme, the conference was oriented to be a different kind of event with a different type of talk.
I was asked early on to design a logo for the conference. At the time, I had never been to Austin, and I found representing it a bit of a challenge. I was supplied with some of the graffiti around Austin for inspiration and ran with that. I quickly sketched an idea that turned immediately into the logo that would later earn the name Weirdo. Over several years, Weirdo was plastered on everything from t-shirts to lab coats to cups and coasters and even made into a Slack emoji. All things that I never imagined when I drew it.
2016 Site design
2016 was my first year living in Austin, and I happily took on the opportunity of designing the site for the conference. The direction that I got for the folks running the conference was to "make it weird". Yup, that's about it. Thinking through what weird design meant for me, I immediately jumped at a chance to apply some parody. Diving through design history, I wanted to pull from some funky inverted photographs and awkwardly spaced letters popular in early grunge and skateboarding scenes. What made the site design stand out was the animation polish that fellow designer Ethan Leon put on it.
2017 Site design
In 2017 I wanted to adopt another design style that was popular while I was growing up. I took inspiration from the saturated colors and wonky shapes of Nickelodeon during the early '90s. I stole the color scheme almost directly from Rugrats and pushed the limits of what I thought I could do in the browser. What took the outrageous design to a new level was the copy. I drove home the personality of Weirdo through small hand-drawn elements and micro-copy.
2018 Site Design
2018 was the last year of the conference, and I felt a little pressure to go out with a bang. To roll with the parody theme I had going, I wanted to throwback to the internet's early days. Harcon back to the days of page counts, animated construction workers, babies, blue skies, and the dial-up noises that are etched in my memory. Quick feedback from the team running the conference reinforced the direction. The site was up in the matter of a couple of days. Tickets sold out just as fast.