We created a unified visual system for the Google I/O 2019 conference designed to span the digital, the physical, and the in-between. Across a wide spectrum of visual and interactive applications, the system is, at heart, an ode to a rather common algorithm.
Modern development is not a solitary art. Developers work with tools allowing them to branch, code, and then merge their work with that of others. We wanted to celebrate the moment of the ‘merge,’ its importance in collaborative work, and its resonance with the experience of I/O.
Enter the merge sort algorithm—a common routine for ordering elements in data objects. Much like developers isolate tasks and bring them back together with version control tools, merge sort breaks apart a data object into pieces, sorts them, and merges them back together.
Inspired by animations of the merge sort algorithm ordering blocks of varying lengths, we used frozen moments of these procedures to create a visual language for the festival. Rooted in code, it’s a playful system celebrating the goal of a festival that brings together developers from all over the world.
A global conference—in a parking lot
As Google’s oldest developer conference and it’s marquee event for product and platform announcements, I/O is simultaneously rooted in place and speaking to a global audience. As the festival unfolds over three days at the Shoreline Amphitheater, it converts a parking lot into a digital innovation playground while livestreaming the entire conference to an audience of millions.
We designed a cross-platform app and website—itself a progressive web app—to serve the needs of both the attendees and those experiencing I/O online.
After dark (mode)
Flipping the switch on our normal approach to “build from white” while designing for Google, we created a dark theme for the app to take advantage of new capabilities for system wide theming on iOS and Android.
The digital, the physical, and the in-between
Each year we work with teams across Google to build a visual system that works for our digital and physical executions as well as the built environment at the festival. This year, with new announcements in augmented reality technology, the brand comes to life in mixed reality for improved conference wayfinding as well as a little fun and visual delight.
The first nine
2019 marks our ninth I/O conference and a decade of collaboration with the Google Developers marketing team. Both a measure of our growth and a validation of our roots, we continue to love bringing together technology and design in meaningful ways for one of our favorite audiences.