Michigan State University wanted a special experience for the holidays to showcase the diversity of what makes a Spartan unique – like snowflakes. They created dozens of icons to showcase different aspects of Spartan life, like books, sporting symbols, beakers and ballet slippers. These elements would form a custom snowflake for each Spartan that participated.
MSU asked PIXO Group about the technical aspects to building an interface that could properly execute their creative vision. With the December deadline approaching, a tight turnaround wouldn’t interfere with delivering an exceptional product.
The design was done, but the technical challenge came in the form of creating a system that would allow for a theoretically infinite amount of output. As multiple icons would be selected, the goal was to have no two snowflakes end up alike.
The completed snowflakes would need to be presented in a high quality output for social sharing. The snowflakes needed to be a high enough resolution, in order to be used as a mobile or desktop wallpaper. In addition, developing this functionality would allow for printed materials as well.
The last marketing challenge is always user participation. The user interface needed to allow for an easy, fun experience, to maximize reach and shares.
PIXO Group used scalable vector graphic images, (SVG) assigned to a library of unique loader templates. These templates generated eight-sided kaleidoscopic snowflakes that were animated on the web, and presented a generative design to emerge, custom and on-demand to each user. Users selected from the library of icons to populate the snowflake, and added further customizations with different background images. Straightforward social share links completed the experience.
The Spartan Snowflake was an overwhelming success. Based on analytics, more than 1,000,000 people were reached through impressions from social shares, primarily on Facebook. The project improved audience relationships, through participation, and increased brand awareness. Additionally, the Spartan Snowflake won an Excellence Award in the category of Digital – Other from the University & College Designers Association (UCDA).
Make your own snowflake here!