Element Collages… are FUN!

Programming - Apr 19, 2024

After documenting our collective inspiration in the form of Mood Boards, our next design exercise for the redesign of cloudfour.com was Element Collages.

We used a few points of reference before starting our Element Collages. First was Dan Mall’s post from 2012, in which he talks about evolving Element Collages from Style Tiles. We also referred to Clearleft’s post that explains their usage of Element Collages and how they arrived at using them as a deliverable.

We also had a few bits of background that we used to inform our collages:

Armed with all of that knowledge we set out on our first round of Element Collages. Each of us did a unique collage and posted our work in Basecamp. Along with our collage we posted our ideas and thought processes on color palette, imagery, typography, and any other areas of note. People posted feedback and knee-jerk reactions in Basecamp, however, we reserved most of our feedback for in person discussion.

Once our collages were ready for review, Tyler prepared a simple google survey which asked questions about each collage such as likes, dislikes, how well it embodied our brand characteristics, and how we felt about its design characteristics overall. The reasoning for doing a survey, even though it was an extra step and more work, was to give every team member an equal voice (rather than just the loudest voices in the room). It also gave everyone a chance to collect their thoughts prior to an in-person discussion.

The results of the survey gave us an idea of what the strengths of each collage were.

It was clear that Cloudfourians were really drawn to illustrations that Tyler and Sara used in their collages.

Illustration by Tyler Sticka
Illustration by Sara Lohr

Erik’s had strong typography, and a dramatic color palette.



Taking these insights, we moved into the second round.

We borrowed elements from each other that we felt worked well. We revised, refined and reworked our collages.



At the end of the second round, we had a final survey which zeroed in on which collage was our favorite. Tyler painstakingly compiled the results from each survey and created two keynote presentations that we used to facilitate our in person Element Collage discussions.



Tyler’s final Element Collage ended up being the group favorite.


Given the collaborative nature of the second round, Tyler’s collage ended up borrowing many elements from the other collages. He uses Erik’s color palette as a starting point and brought in Sara’s “we ♥️” treatment for the hero illustration, just to name a few. Overall, the team felt this collage was friendly, cheerful and welcoming. The illustrations added personality and the design evoked a sense of clean freshness. Most importantly, it felt the most like Cloud Four.

We are currently in the process of working on our Pattern Library. You can follow all Cloud Four redesign fun in real time by joining our public Slack channel and our project board on Trello.

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