Editor's Note: We have since changed our website but Elina's art can be found on our About Page!
When launching our new website, there was a lot to keep in mind. We wanted our brand to be more in-line with what other companies in the no code space were putting forth since we wanted to resonate with no coders and entrepreneurs. This meant brightening up our image, ditching the old gradient for a “punchier purple” (as I call it), and creating copy that wasn’t so text-heavy, especially on mobile, to improve speed reading of our offering. I aimed to get this all done prior to the closed beta launch announcement and it was a big challenge but I’m glad to have completed it (thanks Webflow!). Something that was important to me in building our new site and branding was finding good creative art to put on our website and console. It needed to be art that spoke to what we were allowing people to do on Metaranx but was also modern - art styles and trends change so quickly and we didn’t want it to look dated a few months down the line. As bootstrapping startup founders, we also needed a very inexpensive or free option. Enter, Blush!
We stumbled across blush.design after a Tweet appeared in my feed. Blush offers “illustrations for everyone” and boasts over 15 well-thought-out collections from 11 artists (currently!). If you’re looking for art featuring people, doodles, items, backgrounds - each collection has its own unique take with a focus on diversity, as well as a variety of art styles.
We chose to use Elina Cecilia Giglio’s Big Shoes collection and paired it with a pack of hand drawn robots we bought from Envato market that were allowed to be modified. Beyond wanting to show people in our art, we wanted to show a visual representation of artificial intelligence (AI). When people think of AI, they often picture robots like those created by MIT’s Boston Dynamics lab or conversational human heads or an invisible hand winning at Go and Chess. We wanted to put a “face” to those AIs. The AIs you work with will help you in business or personal projects and they’re working with you. You’re creating them on your data and based on your ideas and hopefully building a successful business with them! We really wanted to display this partnership of AI and humans so, with my limited design capabilities, I put together two artists’ hand-drawn (and vastly different) art styles together to create what you now see on Metaranx!
Below, we speak to Elina Cecilia Giglio about how she got into art, why open source illustrations are important to offer, and the inspiration behind Big Shoes.
Hey Elina! Thanks for doing the interview. We loved using Big Shoes for Metaranx’s website and branding. Please, introduce yourself and what you do!
I am a designer and Illustrator. I was born in a city in Argentina called Mendoza and am currently living in Barcelona. Nowadays, I am working as a visual designer and also am focused on freelance illustrations. I love plants and cats, too!
How did you get into art?
Actually, I started drawing when I was a child but I always did it as a hobby. I used to paint with watercolors and create still life and landscapes. It was after 2015 that I did my first steps professionally as a designer, trying to mix illustration with my design skills. It is difficult in Argentina to be profitable in art but I had the chance to work with a San Francisco-based company. They gave me the vision and the foundation of what was going on in the tech industry and now I specialize in this field.
How did you first come across blush.design and join their platform?
I am a huge fan of Pablo Stanley. One day, I was scrolling on a site and I read that he was looking for illustrators. Immediately I sent him my portfolio. When he answered back, I couldn’t believe it - but it was true! I really liked Pablo’s vision of Blush as a product. After talking with him I decided to participate and work on Blush.
We used your Big Shoes collection for Metaranx - what inspired you to create the characters of Big Shoes?
I worked along with Pablo in a process. It was a dream - we talked about the possibilities that we had and how I could develop the system to create characters. I usually try to know my clients first or the product where my illustrations will live, but in this case, the creation process was extremely freeing. I didn’t have a specific customer besides Pablo. So I started with a first draft, drawing and listening to music, and something came out from my hands. When I saw the illustrations on paper, it was really funny because they have huge hands and feet. I decided that this will be the main characteristic of my set: Big Shoes. After that, I started to polish the illustrations by creating two main characters with variations in different scenes and trying to think in a generic way of how a customer would be able to use it.
What are your thoughts on how we’ve used Big Shoes on Metaranx?
I loved it! I like to see how people can create different views from my set, like how you changed the colors. In the places where you used or mixed both sets is something that I had never would have thought of and now they are living in the world. I think it is fantastic.
How else have you seen Big Shoes or your other collections used?
I try to follow the downloads and usually the people write to me when they use it. Sometimes I see posts on LinkedIn or Twitter, like yours, and then I write to the user to see how I can improve the set. I think that the one that most impressed me most was a project for dyslexia. I felt so good about that because I was helping in an indirect way for something bigger.
Why do you believe it’s important to offer open source art/art released under Creative Commons license?
I learned to code almost completely free, nobody forced me to pay anything, but at some point, I wanted to learn more so I took different paid classes. In the same way, I see these kinds of libraries as a devolution from me to the tech industry for all the knowledge that I acquired. And second, this allowed different companies to know the benefits of having something that makes their brand unique, so they will hire somebody in the future dedicated to this kind of job.
Where can people view your other work or hire you?
We hope you like the art we chose, the style, and our thoughts behind it. Don’t forget to check out blush.design for more open source illustrations and to see Elina’s portfolio and other ways to reach out to the artist. When building a website and brand, imagery is so important to conveying the messages you want to get across to users. If you’re not an artist or have trouble grasping design in general, it can be a real challenge to find something that works well with your ideas for a website. Being able to play around with some free collections of modern styles and see what works best is super helpful.