Firefox OS (also known by its codename “Boot to Gecko” or “B2G”) is Mozilla’s open source mobile operating system based on Linux and Gecko technology. The first version was released last February 2013 with codename TEF and Gecko 18 version.
Part of Mozilla’s campaign for the OS brand was the creation of Firefox mascots used in its advertisements and branding. YTD is very honored to get in touch with one the creative minds who conceptualized the creation of the brand mascots. Check out our interview below with Dutch designer, Martijn Rijven about his work on the series of illustrations for the Firefox OS branding.
YTD: Hi Martijn, welcome to You The Designer! Share us a little background about you and your design work.
MARTIJN: Hi, thanks for having me.Well my name’s Martijn Rijven, I live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and I have a lovely wife and daughter. In 1997 I graduated in graphic- and typographic design from the Royal College of Arts in The Hague and I’ve, for the most part, been self employed ever since.
Dutch Designer, Martijn Rijven
I run a one-man company under the name of BOLTgraphics, in which I specialize in graphic, typographic and illustrative design. It seems quite broad for a specialisation but for me those three always seem to blend into one another.
YTD: Who or what are your major influences in design?
MARTIJN: That’s tough to answer as I enjoy different designs (designers) for such different reasons, and I think they influence my work as much as everything else I take in. Having said that, I have found that I’m a real sucker for craftsmanship so the illustrators and designers from around middle of the last century seem to spur me on into improving myself the most. Designers like Paul Schuitema and Jan Tsichold but also Wim Crouwel and illustrators like Robert Fawcett and Charley Harper.
Various works by Martijn Rijven
YTD: How was it working with Mozilla?
MARTIJN: It was great. I didn’t have too much contact with Mozilla directly though. I was commissioned by Wolff Olins in New York who were designing the brand of which my mascots were a part. They would present my work to Mozilla, but Mozilla did seem like a client that was open to new ideas and was willing to learn.
YTD: The Firefox OS Brand mascots are awesome! How did you land on this project?
MARTIJN: Thanks so much! Well, as I said I was commissioned by WolffOlins and their creative director on this project, Mike Abbink, is someone I had work with on similar projects in the past. He got me involved with this project.
YTD: Can you share us your creative process? From where did you start?
MARTIJN: Well whenever I work with Mike he just let’s me start out with sketching. A lot of sketching.
Exploring all possible poses, abstractions, stylesations. And after a go of 4 days of just producing sketches he will start to steer me towards certains directions. It’s a very nice way of really pushing the boundaries of what the final illustration can be. A great way of working, and not one many clients tend to follow.
YTD: What are your tools?
MARTIJN: Pencil and transparent paper mainly. And when I’m absolutely done drawing the whole thing out, I finish it in Illustrator. I want to get all my curves and lines as perfect as possible before I put everything into vectors.
YTD: What are your guiding principles throughout the project?
MARTIJN: Those should be defined by the brief, I think, so that changes from project to project. But in this case the fox had to be friendly but strong, sort of a bad-ass but also trustworthy. Most of all we wanted to express freedom and dynamism.
YTD: Any other major brands you hope to work for in the future?
MARTIJN: I’m not sure if there are any specific brands I would like to work for. I like the idea of every brand and client bringing it’s own unique challenges and demands. Every project is unique and asks for it’s own unique solutions. I like figuring out those solutions. I would love to work with Wolff Olins more though, they are great at finding striking new solutions to seemingly common problems. I’m a big fan of theirs.
YTD: Thank you Martijn for spending some time with us. Anyone you would like to be thankful for?
MARTIJN: Mike Abbink and Wolff Olins for getting me involved in this project and my wife and daughter for putting up with me working long hours.
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