Swag Life, Part II: posters, pop-ups, and more robots

The concept and design development of the System76 brand through swag and print paraphernalia and lots of robots

M3LVIN, the third robot of System76 (and my personal favorite), is a print piece you can display on your desk to guard your computer, desk, drafting table, etc. The idea for a “desktop sentinel” originated from somewhere in the jumble of ideation I had while brainstorming fun freebies to send with customer orders. It was either a weird brilliant idea or a brilliant weird idea. Regardless, people love him.
The first scribble I used to explain my concept for M3LVIN (then, "Stanley"). The conversation with my boss in our unboxing design meeting went as follows...

ME: It’d be a postcard the same size as the letter card, made to fit the envelope, but you could punch out the robot and fold the flaps so that it stands up on your desk.
CEO: You want to send paper dolls to grown men?
ME: Yes.
CEO: They’ll love it.
But, as all creatives know, sometimes the idea stops short and conceptualization stalls completely. I'm very grateful to Ivan Garcia, a creative colleague and character designer by trade, who gave me some sketches of how this weird robot could look, based off my logo design, reference imagery, and vague allusions to how I was picturing him in my head.
Then I ran amok on vector illustrating my little guy so I could
finally bring him to life and share him with the world. 

As a paper-doll for adults.
First draft, printed and cut out by hand. The folds worked perfectly. I was thrilled.
Full design (front)
Full design (back)
The final, official M3LVIN desktop sentinel, in all his die cut and perforated glory.
The next project is difficult to explain. In that it's a long and ridiculous story. Suffice it to say, System76 provided the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tennessee with desktop computers powerful enough to run a live Minecraft server, the museum's personal addition to the Smithsonian exhibit, "The Art of Video Games," which it was hosting in the summer of 2015. I was asked to send the museum some sort of branded piece or ad as a representation of the company. This turned out to be a massive (and expensive) misunderstanding and miscommunication for us (on their part) of epic proportions. But the initial request caused my brain to implode with giddy nerdery, and thus was born the Robot Arcade Poster.
Each character has featured in a game by a well-known video game developer at one time or another. Each pixel art representation is based on the pixelated robot form of M3LVIN; each character is, essentially, built off of our brand, which was my way of illustrating the power of our computers in helping to power part of a video game exhibit as well as the growing availability of games and capability of game development in open source software.
It should also be mentioned (because I know our customer base is nerdy enough to handle it and one of them was bound to look at this expecting a cheat code) that the poster contains a coded message one can only decipher by correctly naming all of the characters on the poster. Because it felt right and because I could. 

It took a year, but someone finally figured it out. We sent him free swag. And a poster.
You can purchase your own poster here.
The S-76.4 Series robots were all designed as part of a promotional marketing campaign that involved re-skinning an augmented reality game app and necessitated a new, diverse set of vector illustrated robots (among many other assets).
5IMON is a robot that will hopefully be seen by very few people as he only appears on the System76 website in the event of a specific 500 error.
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