31 October 2018 Culture

Family-Powered Design: Doodles and Drawings from Elastic Kiddos

By Sejal KorenrompYichun HsiehDrew RainesMichal WoronieckiTony Sleva

Inspired by Family

Part of our source code at Elastic is the recognition and celebration of various aspects of life as inspirations for us. For many Elasticians, that inspiration comes from their family: their partners, children, parents, and pets (we have an extremely active #pets Slack channel as proof of that).

Family-inspired creation has been a tradition since the start at Elastic, and if you’ve ever attended an Elastic{ON} you may have noticed the amazing artwork that our Design team produces. A lot of the content is individually created for the event you attended, to represent the local city, its inhabitants, its communities.

And in some cases, there are aspects of this art that has been directly influenced by families at Elastic. Here are a few stories...

The Korenromp Family Story

Written by Kiran (Son) and Sejal Korenromp (Mum)

Being one of the early hires at Elastic from back in 2013, my boys Neal (10) and Kiran (12) have grown up hearing all about Elastic. I have always been a firm believer in trying to explain what "work" is, seeing as it’s such as massive part of our lives. At first, the only way I knew how to explain what Elastic does was to them was to surprise them with fun facts about everyday things . Such as explaining that when they find their favorite songs in Spotify or track down a book on eBay, it’s Elasticsearch that helps them search! Soon enough they grasped it, and now everytime they search something they’ll ask, "is that Elastic mum?" ;-)

One day, when Kiran, who had taken to drawing asked (yet again), "what can I draw?" for lack of a better idea, I suggested he worked on something I was working on too. So he did! One evening during my team call, he proudly showed his designs to Michal Woroniecki, our Creative Director. Michal chuckled and took out his own sketchbook and showed him his own designs - they were based on a very similar idea - Kiran was so excited and finished his designs and sent them to Michal (who has now become his artistic mentor ;-). A few weeks later on my birthday, the team called me up with the suggestion for the best gift ever and asked if they can publish Kiran’s design as part of our promotion plan for the Elastic{ON} Tour. It was a real proud mum and work moment that I will never forget - Elastic is all about family in more ways than one.

My Story by Kiran Korenromp, Age 12 

I like designing for Elastic because it’s cool and I like the creativity of Elastic. I really like Michal's style of design. First I used to show him designs when mum was on a zoom call, then I started to send my artwork by email. Once when he was in Amsterdam I even got to meet him, which as a kid it's kind of special! I have done designs for the Elastic{ON} Tour which goes all around the world and the Elastic{ON} Tour Paris.

I came to these designs after my mum explained what her team was doing, which was traveling around the whole world with a group of Elastic people and so I came up with a bus driving around the world and then added all the names of the places! To make it Elastic I added the logo, or the Cluster as they call it at Elastic.

Here are my designs that were used in Facebook and Twitter, and for a luggage tag giveaway too, which I thought was really cool ->

Inspiration by Kiran (left), Imitation by Elastic (right)

Kiran's Elastic{ON} Paris logo

The Hsieh Family Story

Written by Ryan (Son) and Yichun Hsieh (Mum)

By having a designer mom, creating art is always an activity at home. Ryan loves drawing and doodling. He visited me at work a few times and fell in love with the environment as well as the artwork we posted in the office.

It was right before Elastic{ON} 2016 when I saw one of his robot doodles, (he had over 20 of them) and I thought it could be a very cool t-shirt idea. We worked together to add our products in the design and yes, the t-shirt got popular [editor note - REALLY popular!] at the conference. Ryan wore this t-shirt to school on Career Day and said he wants to work with me at Elastic when he grows up.

In his own words:

I like drawing because you can make many different designs.
I drew the robot because I like robots.
I like your company because I like designing and your company is nice. People are nice to me when I visit.

The bottom right robot was the one inspired the Elastic{ON} robot t-shirt.

And here’s Ryan wearing his creation.

The Raines Family Story

Drawn by Abraham Raines (Son), Written by Drew Raines (Dad)

As Sejal described, it can be challenging and a lot of fun to help friends and family understand what Elastic does. My family has their favorite use cases too. "Elastic helps make movies?!" "Elastic helps retrieve data from Mars?!" Aside from what Elastic does is how we as employees actually work. It's difficult for onlookers to understand where I go to work everyday. When my children see me at the "office," it looks the same as when I'm writing an email to my sister, or googling for something. I’m staring at a screen. Even when I brought my family along on a few work trips in the early days of doing Elasticsearch trainings, they would only see me interact with a small class.

Though they weren't present, the inaugural Elastic{ON} 2015 was one of the first opportunities for my family to see to what they had given the previous three years of their life. It was actually a chance for all of us at Elastic to see the scale of the company we were all building. We knew the community was large from the GitHub repository star count, mailing list subscribers, and meetups attendance around the world, but that March at San Francisco's Pier 27 we got to experience over a thousand of us in one room.

My wife and twin 6-year-old boys were home watching over the live stream how we were expanding our brand from Elasticsearch to Elastic. As part of the launch we unveiled the cluster logo. Our products had evolved from what people typically view as "search" problems and into other areas that search non-obviously, but wonderfully, empowers.

My son Abraham watched the presentation. He found himself finally able to "see" what we were about. Unable to grasp a JSON query DSL over HTTP, he could grasp a bubbly glob of color on the screen. The logo visually connected with him in a way that words could not. He doodled and colored while the presentation happened, and created a rendition of it that hangs on my office door to this day. I love the way that it looks, but more importantly it represents what Elastic means to me. My work matters to my family. Good design helped make that connection.

The Elastic Cluster (Abraham Raines, Age 6)

A Word From Design

Written by Michal Woroniecki (Senior Director of Doodles)

"As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe continues into adulthood." ― Jim Henson

We’re all creative. As adults, creativity can come out in ways as unexciting as finding the best way home to avoid traffic. But as kids, creativity meant letting our vibrant imaginations run wild, projecting fantasy all over our rapidly expanding worlds. If you’d have given 10-year-old me a box of crayons, I could’ve just drawn you a Trabant with wings so you’d never have to worry about traffic again.

I think it’s important to try to keep a connection to that uninhibited childhood creativity. We’re all creative (remember?), we just have to be mindful of keeping our creative fires burning through adulthood. Heck, earlier today, at the end of an hour long planning session (talk about ‘adult’) I came away just one thing: a doodle (below). But don’t tell my boss, they’d probably prefer I put my creativity towards quarterly goals...

look_at_the_reflection_2.jpg

The lesser known "carrot gut" of rabbit adulthood.

At Elastic, we love to tell stories. Many of them are about highly complex concepts, like machine learning and BM25 relevance tuning (I still don’t know what that means). Other stories attempt to relate those sophisticated technologies to our everyday lives, like when an Elastic product manager kept an eye on his little brother while he hiked the PCT. But then sometimes we tell stories without words, just using a really cool space robot to make a point about data visualization or anomaly detection. Or maybe we want to tell a story about ourselves by designing a t-shirt that simply doesn’t looks like some corporate uniform. Every team at Elastic contributes to the story we tell, whether through, code, stories, doodles, or highly detailed quarterly planning documentation which I promise to have done next week.

We have a talented team of designers, illustrators and video editors at Elastic, but Elasticians don’t have to work for the design team in order to contribute. Any doodle is worth its weight in gold. We don’t care how bad you think your drawing skills are, if your concept is strong and relevant, Design can use it. We’re always on the lookout for talent on out internal slack channels or in quirky, never-ending email threads to all@ (yes, it’s a thing).

This openness to creativity is how we ended up having our junior artists contributing to things like social posts promoting out Elastic{ON} Tour and designing cool tees for our annual conference. So kids, if you’re reading this, or if your parents are trying to pass this off as a bedtime story, please keep the drawings coming! We’ll get as many refrigerators as it takes to house all of your art.

I (and the whole Design team) know Ryan, Kiran, and Abraham are only the beginning of a long running tradition of inclusion and creativity at Elastic!