CES 2015 LulzBot Mini Competition

In late November or early December of 2014, Aleph Objects, Inc, the company that owns the popular LulzBot brand of 3D printers announced a contest on Reddit to help promote the launch of their newest model, the LulzBot Mini, at CES 2015.

Here is a summary of my creative process that helped me win this competition.

Step 1: Gather Data

This contest was for a particular company. Lulzbot, and Aleph Objects the parent company, are using this contest to promote the launch of their new product the LulzBot Mini. I read all about this company. They are enthusiastic supporters of open-source and creative-commons licensing. I also knew that they had high ideals, but also didn't mind using fun, or even silly imagery to make their point. Their corporate symbol is an octopus. The contest was to take their new Roctopus image (a fun play off their original octopus) and create an exciting image to help build interest in their new printer.

I also had to create something that they would enjoy using to promote their new printer, the LulzBot Mini. I've seen contests like this in the past and a fun, provocative illustration that could even be used as a single-page spread in a magazine would be most viable for future promotion.

Step 2: Find a Win-worthy Solution

3D Printing is making innovation and physical prototyping more reachable. I explored many innovators from history. I'm a classically trained artist having earned a BFA degree from CCAD. I have a great deal of respect for the work of Leonardo da Vinci. He was not just an artist, but an engineer and futurist. He represented a great deal of what I wanted to convey in my solution for this contest.

I had to incorporate the Roctopus into the design. So I thought about Leonardo's great works. Obviously the Mona Lisa came to mind, as did his Last Supper, his Vitruvian Man and several others crossed my mind. I've been obsessed with 3D printing for years, so I decided to go with the one that was his best known obsession. Another nice thing about starting with the Mona Lisa, it is in the public domain and there are also many open license photos of the work available through wikipedia.

Step 3: Bring the Magic

I've used Photoshop for years. I've got the chops. This was a contest where the scores accumulated through votes earned during the contest period. So it was in my interest to move as quickly as possible and get my submission up. So I worked for about two days to come up with a solid submission. I found a great creative commons licensed crackle texture that resembled the finish of the actual painting. When I finished my handiwork 'shopping the Roctopus in and adding tentacles to give it just the right balance of humor and formal pose, I then applied the texture around and it helped "sell" the merging in a surprisingly convincing way. I posted a useful size and a very large native size file, so that if the company wanted to use my art for print advertising, they could. I also gave a clear description and proper license notations. Since this was important to the client and the community, I knew it was very important to get the spirit of the shared credit right.

Finally, I shared it through my social media asking friends and family for their votes. The contest was designed to create exposure, driving new people into this reddit community. Between the people I brought there, and a favorable embrace from the community. I was very proud to learn that I had won People's Choice!

My 3D printer arrived in early 2015. I'm very excited to add it to my tools, expanding the possibilities of what is possible.