Wikipedia15

We celebrated fifteen years of knowledge.

2016 marked 15 years since the birth of Wikipedia. In internet years, that’s an incredible achievement. The Wikimedia Foundation hired us to build a site and campaign that celebrated that huge milestone, and that embodied their core identity: the idea that ‘knowledge is joy.’

From the beginning, we knew that Wikipedia15 needed to speak to Wikipedia’s open-source nature. Everything would be appropriated, adapted and reinterpreted by Wikipedia’s individual chapters and their millions of users. We kept the campaign’s identity simple while still bursting with warmth, and designed it using many open-source tools as possible—including free vector drawing software and the typeface Open Sans.

We made certain that the campaign was accessible for the largest possible audience and that the campaign identity would remain cohesive, even with hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia users making their own symbols.

wiki15-mark
  • Client
  • The Wikimedia Foundation
  • Type
  • Identity
  • Web
  • Role
  • Designer
  • Illustrator

Mark and messaging introduction sequence that launched the Wikipedia15 campaign.

The site had similar constraints to the campaign: it had to be useful and accessible for users with sluggish internet connections, tiny bandwidth limits, and ancient computers. This meant it needed a site that was incredibly light. We relied on color, simple motion, and vivacious copy to communicate without relying on really heavy assets or giant scripts. The site’s just as much of a pleasure whether it’s on a desktop in San Francisco or a mobile phone in rural Argentina.

Homepage

We developed a style guide built on those decisions and released it to the Wikipedia community, alongside an initial collection of 42 marks. We drew these marks to encapsulate the idea of the Wikipedia “rabbithole:” landing on the site for one article, then getting sucked into a long series of tangential clicks until you’re reading about something else entirely. The introductory set contained everything from the ISS, to an angry llama, to the Brandenburg Gate.

A grid of 25 Wikipedia15 marks

25 of the 42 base marks released for the Wikipedia15 campaign

The Wikipeda app's onboarding process, featuring Mule's brand marks

Wikipedia15 was smash hit. Our work generated over 1.9 billion impressions through the Wikipedia homepage, and prompted an anncedote-sharing trend on Twitter. The icon campaign was equally successful—our base set and style guide inspired Wikipedian chapters around the world to create over 300 of their own offical marks. Mule's inital set was so well-received that the Wikipedia team began incorporating the marks and colors from the campaign into the Wikipedia app.

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