The UX London team were excited to work on a brand new design challenge this year - that of the stage set.

Rowena Price
Rowena Price
16th June 2017

It may seem like a small detail, but it felt important and timely for us take the opportunity to experiment with a new way to visually represent the essence and brand of UX London. Enter, Stage Right, Jon Aizlewood and Kyle Bean.

Dream team

We’d worked with Kyle earlier in the year. He produced some beautiful illustration work for our new website - as seen in our Penguin case study, amongst others. In house here at HQ, Alis, Kate and I worked on a brief. We wanted the project to capture one of our core values at Clearleft: “Learn, share, learn share” - a value that spawned the creation of UX London and so many of our other events.

Then we invited Jon on board to work on the design side of things.

Here, Kyle and Jon share their insights from the project, along with the images and video that captured the creation of our lovely new stage set. It was a great project to work on - fast paced, full of creative freedom, but with some tricky practical and logistical constraints thrown in…

Our initial discussions for the stage piece centred around the idea that it should be something fun and adaptable. It also needed be something that could potentially be used at different Clearleft events, so durability was also a key requirement. By the end of our first meeting we were discussing children’s wooden toys and activity blocks and so the seeds of the idea were already in place at this point. With these ideas in mind, I went away and developed the concept that we could construct a series of boxes that could be stacked and rearranged to spell out different words throughout the 3-day conference.

Kyle Bean
Initial sketches - copyright Kyle Bean

At the same time, I also did some research into LED lighting as well as CNC (Computer Numerical Control) cutting, as I liked the idea that the boxes could be lit up by battery powered coloured lights and be made from solid plywood panels with the letters cut out. Over to the Clearleft team.

Kyle Bean
LED testing - copyright Kyle Bean

Following their brief to Kyle, Kate and Alis roped me in to help on the design front. The concept of activity blocks meant the cubes could be rotated to show one of four faces options at any given time. To further the playful, toy-like aspect of the piece, we agreed on a series of abstract icons that were in keeping with the content at UX London. That left us with a bunch of faces still to use.

Jon Aizlewood
Cube mapping exercise - complete with obligatory stickies and Sharpies! Copyright Jon Aizlewood

Together we went through a really fun session mapping out the various permutations of each cube and the options for each, in order to provide Kyle with a clear brief on the number of boxes needed and what would go on each. We ended up adding another cube to account for a range of words and tags, including UX London, Clearleft, and ensured it was future-friendly by ensuring the #UXL20XX hashtag could be used up to 2020. Always thinking ahead!

Jon Aizlewood
Cut outs - copyright Kyle Bean

From that point on it was a case of making everything and finessing the details and testing various things such as the wood finish, adhesives and and the radio controlled lighting.

Kyle Bean
The finished article - copyright Mitch Payne
Live on stage at UX London - copyright Luca Sage

Simple as that! 

To find out more about Kyle Bean’s work, visit www.kylebean.co.uk