Pixels of Fury 2012
Pixels of Fury 2012

Congratulations to Pixels of Fury: Baltimore winner Sarah Jennings — and to all of the courageous competitors, for fully bringing the Fury in a race to create posters inspired by their city. With only 20 minutes to prove their design domination, the pressure was on for the contestants as they worked in front of a live audience of their peers. After a Furious first round, Jennings went on to claim her victory with her poster inspired by Charm City’s many charming faces — be they human, rodent, architectural, or other.

Check out her winning piece, along with other Baltimore-inspired entries showing off the competitors’ unique brand of civic, er, pride, then read on for an exclusive interview and time-lapse video.

Here’s a time-lapse of how Jennings created the winning poster:

After the award was won, Sarah took the time to answer some questions about her night in the spotlight:

Pixels of Fury: Baltimore - Winner Sarah Jennings with her Furious Pixel
Pixels of Fury: Baltimore – Winner Sarah Jennings with her Furious Pixel

How do you feel about the win?

It feels great! As a designer, you have to develop a thick skin, since criticism of your work is a big part of the job. Regardless of how much you know that, there is a small part of me that always asks, “Is my stuff good enough?” It’s what pushes me to always try harder and push things further. This award is an awesome vindication that my hard work is paying off.

Any tips for future Pixels of Fury contestants?

I would say don’t forget that this is a spectator sport. It’s sort of like Miss America. Part of it is obviously the way things look, but if you get up there and flub your “World Peace” answer, you aren’t going to have the audience on your side.

What was it like to design under a tight time limit?

I’m always working under tight deadlines at my job, though I usually get more like an hour to finish something… The part I wasn’t thinking about was how much harder it would be to design with an entire audience watching. Again, it’s a matter of degrees. I’m used to one or two people looking over my shoulder, but fifty? That was new. It was fun to get my hands on CS6 though. We still have 5.5 at work, and I’ve wanted to play with it. It also made me think about how I may need to get back to basics. For example, I have so many custom shortcuts set up on my machine that I forgot how to manually make a vector mask around an object. Call it the pressure of the moment, but I ended up just using the magic wand tool to cut the white area out behind the rat silhouette. I guess whatever gets the job done is the right way to do it.

What did you think of Shutterstock Instant?

It was really neat. It was very helpful to see the thumbnails so big, especially with the tight time constraint we were under. It let you just scan the page for the image that felt right and grab it.

Talk a little bit about your strategy, and walk us through the steps of how you created a winning design.

Actually, Shutterstock Instant was key to my victory in Round 1. Right after the clock started, I got in there and started looking through Instant for pictures of ladies with beehives. I saw the picture I wanted to use, but had some technical difficulties that took the organizers a few precious minutes to sort out. While they were fixing things, I took a second to figure out what I wanted to do with that picture. So, when I got to get back into it with 13 minutes left, I was able to get right in and execute my idea. For my second design, I knew I wanted to go with the baltiMORE theme, and I’ve always found that one thing that Baltimore has a lot of that people don’t want to think about is rats. But, it’s so much more. So I took a rat and made a collage inside it, and there it was.

Learn about our fearless and furious competitors from Baltimore!
Learn more about Pixels of Fury — it could be coming to a town near you!