• 1.28.14

    Adam Hayes Illustrates IBM Watson's Tumblr, IBMblr

    IBM Watson turned to Adam Hayes to spruce up its Tumblr as part of the super-computer's move to Manhattan. Hayes created the lead-space illustration that spans the top of IBMblr ("IBM Innovation Culture + Tumblr") and four "Watson at Work" designs to be posted on the page.

    "For the lead space, I was asked to make small drawings to represent either shopping, customer service, finance, or health care, arranged in a thought bubble coming from the Watson logo – to depict what the IBM software was thinking about," the artist explained. He submitted a first round of pencil sketches and set to work directly in Photoshop on his Wacom tablet, instead of scanning ink-drawn pieces into the program (his usual process). "This made it simpler to split each of the tiny objects into separate layers for animating." Hayes conceived a hand-rendered typeface to keep with the style of the banner.

    The portrayals of Watson as a personal shopper and med-school student were informed by Hayes's previous images of brain-like apparatuses. "They were great fun to develop because I love to draw imaginary machines," he remarked. "Here, the main challenge was to ensure the designs didn't appear sinister and symbolized software, not hardware ... so I used a bright color palette and hand-drawn lines, and conveyed the idea of software by letting each element float – rather than be housed inside a box or shell."

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