When Industry Dive moved into a new office in last year, it was decided that each conference room would be painted a different color to help differentiate between them. Members of the company disagreed on what to call them (ex. pink vs. fuscia, blue vs. teal) and often had to clarify which room they were referring to.

One day, an employee took it upon himself to order a Prince decal for the purple room. The decal was a hit and the purple conference room where it lived became known as “The Prince Room.” During this time, the company continued to deliberate on what to call the conference rooms and if we should pick a theme for naming them (presidents? street names?). But, because the Prince room was such a success, it was decided that each room would be named after musicians.

Prince decal Prince decal

We brainstormed different artists that would coordinate with the color of each room. Whether it was related to an artists, album, look or famous photo, we found a way to match all six rooms with a specific artist:

  1. Yellow room: Beyoncé
  2. Pink room: David Bowie
  3. Blue room: Madonna
  4. Orange room: Frank Ocean
  5. Green room: Snoop Dog
  6. Grey room: Lady Gaga

After we knew the artists, the next step was figuring out how to make a wall decal for each of them.

Process

Step 1: Create a cohesive vector style

To begin, I compiled a bunch of reference images that epitomized each artist to base my illustrations off of. When starting the illustrations, I kept in mind what would look best on the walls and what would look consistent with the Prince wall decal.

I started with the most detailed illustration: Beyoncé in the yellow ruffle dress from the “Hold Up” music video. This was particularly challenging because there were so many tiny shapes that needed to be simplified for wall decal application.

The most difficult element of this project was creating a single-color vector illustration that represented the artist at first glance. This took a lot of trial and error to balance the light and dark values to accurately depict who the illustration represents.

David Bowie decal The David Bowie wall decal for the pink room was the most difficult.

David Bowie turned out to be the most difficult illustration because I wanted the lightening bolt on his face to reveal the pink paint on the wall. This was tough because all the values on Bowie’s face are a similar shade and the darkest value is the lightening bolt. This made it hard to sculpt his face while also making sure the lightening bolt stood out.

I solved this by reversing the way I was thinking about the decals: Emphasize lines instead of the shapes. I then built in the darker shadow values to keep the same style as the other wall decals.

Step 2: Finding a Print Shop

After getting an idea of each decal’s size, I started calling print shops around the D.C. area to see if they would print something at this scale. I sent each shop a copy of an illustration to give them an idea of how detailed it was and if they were able to print it. It took quite a few calls before finding the right place for the job.

wall vectors Outlined versions of Lady Gaga and Beyoncé that were sent to the printer.

Step 3: Connecting all of the vector shapes

In order for the installation process to go smoothly, the print company said that all of the vector shapes should connect as much as possible. This meant I had to go back and make sure all the paths were combined into one piece.

The Pathfinder Tool and command + C became my best friends when doing this. There were small pieces that I had to accept would be a single piece such as Lady Gaga’s mole and Madonna’s facial features.

Final Product

Once the print shop approved the illustrations, they came to the office and installed them. As they were being installed, my coworkers watched them come to life. Now, everyone refers to each of the rooms as their musician instead of the color confusion! It has given the office a lot of character in a fun yet sophisticated way.