Fresh from Seattle, and I absolutely can’t wait to share my Drupalcon Seattle experience. Five days of being in the astounding Drupal community and I’m still brimming with excitement. When you imagine a conference for a tech-driven platform, you visualize straight jackets and capital cases. But that was certainly not the case with Drupalcon. Design influence at Drupalcon was huge. It could not only be seen visually but could also be perceived behind all activities, talks and community interactions.
Five days in Seattle marked the global celebration of the Drupal community. Entering the exhibition space - all you could see were colors and emotions. All the companies were weaving unique experiences in their limited spaces. Every brand was fighting for who can attract the most attendees. Drupalcon never fails to surprise us but this year it was even more colorful and fun. Imagine people whizzing by on roller skates and wearing bright silver jackets. And you would get the vibe that was going on. You could see the impact of design at every corner, at every booth. I am a designer. And, I could vividly imagine all those in-house designers planning months in advance. Personalized games, personalized interaction, and personalized goodies! All proclaimed that a lot of cool design thinking was going on behind the screen.
Every booth came up with a concept for themselves. Four Kitchens Midway's booth stood out. Their booth's concept was 'Circus'. They subtly hinted about all their services using the themes found within the circus. Look at that clever copy of “The astounding UX oracle”! These overlapping integrated themes definitely created a high-interest quotient among the viewers. Four Kitchen Midway’s offbeat theme was very appealing to all the visitors. No wonder, their booth was busy at all times.
A notable showcase by Four Kitchens was the green color as their branding. From all across the exhibition center, everyone could see the high flying green balloons marking the arena. It created an element of curiosity and prominence in the event. Besides being a really fun activity, Karaoke party was also a unique collaboration between three companies - Manati, Four Kitchens, and Kalamuna. These companies effectively leveraged joint resources to create a great public relations event.
Bold color choices were seen all around the exhibition. Drupalcon logo that talks about the diversity of the Drupal community through a spectrum of colors were everywhere - in different shapes and layouts.
Many companies were oriented towards the process of design thinking. Right next to our booth was Promet Source which brought the concept of human-centered design. They explained this process to the visitors which was a great way to start a conversation. They even encouraged visitors to contribute to an existing mind map. This surely gave the visitors a mindful insight on how Promet Source works and also testified how design thinking is seeping into Drupal oriented companies.
As I was going through different booths, I was completely bowled over to see puppies and bunnies. These fury helpers were the major attraction point on the exhibition closing day. People were queuing up to greet these volunteers. I immediately joined that queue. They surely gave the moral support all DrupalCon attendees needed, after three days of community conversations.
Drupalcon has always embraced diversity. This time they brought the concept of gender spectrum stickers. This was a novel initiative making the brands more humane and conveying empathy. You could see stickers with different pronouns on them, which were a great way for everyone to walk the talk.
Some Drupal agencies preferred minimalism when it came to booth design. Companies followed ‘less is more’ philosophy and managed to communicate what they had to in the simplest of ways. Designing a booth takes a lot of thinking and decision making. The look and feel of a booth play an important part in creating an inviting aura for the place. This includes all the components of the booth interiors, such as furniture, the color of the booth, lighting, etc.
I speak on behalf of the Drupal community when we say we absolutely love our Druplicon character. Where else can you find all the endearing qualities of Drupal and its community humanized? This Druplicon was everywhere at Drupalcon. Some brands used it as a character, some for branding, and some as mascots.
Drupalcon stickers dominated the arena. Every booth was offering its own version of the Drupal design. Stickers on various subjects like Drupal, Seattle, community, identification and, branding. Sticker hoarders were going from booth to booth looking for the most exclusive stickers for their collection. Drupal Community coders are known to proclaim their love for Drupal with the aid of Drupal stickers, which they put on their laptop screen covers. Many of these could be seen in DrupalCon, their Drupal sticker collection proudly on display.
Continuing their legacy, Pantheon brought their screen-printed T-shirts to their booth that were available in four designs. Everyone wanted a Pantheon T-shirt for themselves. It was exciting to watch the T-shirts getting printed right in front of you. It was pretty difficult to choose one from the four different print options they had in yellow and white. I took the one called ‘I make the internet’ (yes, it is the cool graphic shown in the picture above).
At the QED42 booth, we released V3.0 of Drupal Hindi t-shirt. It garnered love from everyone. All visitors were attracted towards the novel Hindi design. I was beaming with joy when people came to us especially seeking our Hindi Drupal design.
On the last day, we got a chance for a breather and we visited all the booths. We saw and loved countless ideas and inspiration was plenty. The energy at Drupalcon is infectious and it is always fun to be a part of this community. As DrupalCon draws to a close, it was clear that the combination of design and Drupal is here to stay. We are ready to embrace it.
Riddhi Juyal has been of great help in putting my thoughts to words for this blog.