During my time at Perception, we were honored to have collaborated with numerous talented teams within IBM, including the team at IBM Design’s offices in Austin. A simple exercise we did with them wound up sending ripples through the massive (and inspiring) initiative that IBM was preparing: the publishing of their extensive process for problem solving through design, known as IBM Design Thinking.

Our prior work with IBM Design had put an emphasis on motion to bring meaning and delight to various IBM products. This time around, IBM wanted a self-contained animation to serve as an introduction to IBM’s Design Thinking documentation. We were asked to create a short and simple animation that would transition a question mark into an exclamation point — a graphic metaphor for the creative process.

This was particularly challenging due to the fact this animation was to set the tone for the entire design initiative, as seen on their website. More than a quick reference, IBM Design Thinking is an extremely detailed guide into the entire creative process used by the company. This extraordinary resource had been made accessible to anyone, and was to be introduced by a simple animation.

In addition to exploring motion and gesture, my creative team took an aggressive approach at reimagining the concept through still designs. With tremendous inspiration from IBM’s history, we crafted a Paul Rand-inspired array of geometric data and color to construct the Helvetica-based forms.

As the IBM team was reviewing the various explorations, they began to share the work-in-progress manifesto for their Design Thinking documentation. Our team continued to develop the most relevant ideas, while incorporating new elements, like Design Thinking’s crucial “Loop”resulting in an animation that blends some of the character and gesture of the initial animations with the Rand-inspired aesthetic.

As we were placing finishing touches on the piece, there were many discussions about the different ways that it incorporated the themes and theories of IBM’s Design Thinking. It quickly became apparent that this introductory animation was going to impact many of the other visual themes seen throughout IBM’s literature.

As always, my team was honored to work with IBM on this design challenge. On this project it was especially gratifying to see how deeply our work inspired and impacted the entire communication plan for the Design Thinking program.

See the full case study on Perception’s website.