Responses by Ilenia Notarangelo, founder/creative director, Illo
Background: Christina Chern, art director at Airbnb, gave us a clear and fun brief: use illustration and animation to visualize some interesting facts about the booming Airbnb Cycling Experiences. The set of gifs we created has been used in a press article written by the Airbnb team in occasion of the Tour de France, a major cycling competition that could inspire guests to get in gear to discover more about the place they are visiting.
Reasoning: We tried to provide the sense of a collective experience. For this reason, we thought about using plenty of tiny bikers in each artwork. We created bold loops, where the data visualization meets the sensation of taking a ride in a colorful landscape.
Challenges: A tight timeline and figuring out how to include a good amount of well-crafted character animation. Together with Cristina Pasquale, an illustrator at Illo, we created a main biker character and differentiated it through quirky hairstyles and colorful outfits, to represent the different and international participants of Airbnb Cycling Experiences. Luckily, the concepts we sketched were approved pretty fast, so we had enough time to focus on the execution of the project.
Favorite details: The color palette. It is bold, summery and provides a “French Touch” to the project. It is also consistent with the Airbnb official color palette and is representative of our studio aesthetics. I’m also proud of the GIF we internally called “Teleportation,” that showcases the three more popular Cycling Experiences from around the world. It was inspired by the tv show Stranger Things and a graffiti artwork spot on Instagram.
Visual influences: French landmarks. I’m very connected to France, as I’ve been living in Paris for more than two years, while Cristina has visited the country many times and had a more dreamy vision of its landscapes. We added the sparkles on the Tour Eiffel to reflect my memories of Paris, while she put in a village fair to provide the sense of exploration done through the cycling experiences.
Time constraints: The timeline was pretty tight—ten days. We worked hard in the first few days to achieve a quality result for all the gifs we agreed to deliver. Then, in the last couple of days, we invested some time in interpolation-based colorful transitions and some handmade character animations.