Tyrus is a free digital toolkit for freelance Illustrators devised to help them ace their projects and smooth out the bumps in the road in their process – developed by Airbnb.
Puzzled? What does Airbnb, a home rentals company have to do with design? It's akin to buying vegetables from Goldman Sachs or booking flights from a florist, the two seem unrelated...
On the contrary though, head of Illustration at Airbnb, Jennifer Hom describes Airbnb as "a design-driven company and design is core to everything we’ve done since inception...". And Airbnb has put its money where its mouth is when it comes to backing this up. With their Airbnb Design site and their recent engagement with Jony Ivy, the former design chief at Apple (there's no way he'll be cheap).
Context aside, the Tyrus identity and website has been thoughtfully crafted by New York design studio Porto Rocha, alongside the works of 10 self-identifying female illustrators. I reached out to Porto Rocha (PR) for some insights into their creative process for this project and how a tool like Tyrus has become more relevant than ever. Many thanks to Nicholas Schröder and the team for accommodating my questions.
What was the brief for the project? What was Airbnb looking to achieve with the website?
Some of the biggest obstacles with the project?
What led the team towards using a modular grid for the website?
Can you elaborate more on the design nods to spreadsheets, forms, charts and calendars that freelancers use and how that inspiration came about?
How did the color palette come about?
What was the thinking behind picking Tyrus Wong for the name and inspiration for the website?
Was PORTO ROCHA part of picking the Illustrators used for the project? Why was it important for Airbnb to feature diverse Illustrators and self-identifying female illustrators?
Was it daunting at first being given 10 illustrators with very different styles and being tasked with making them all work cohesively on one site?
2.6 million views of the site! Do you think this clearly shows that people in the creative industry are hungry for this type of prescriptive content about handling clients and projects?
The photography for the project is very refreshing and custom (I mean the keyboard with the same colored keys!). Given the widespread use of same-same digital mocks to present websites by many agencies, was it important that PORTO ROCHA have custom props and photography to showcase the work?
Any other details or processes you'd like to mention about the project?
Any shout outs for the project?
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