IBM – Bringing man and machine together through illustration

Client: IBM


Whether you’re ready to embrace a world run by robots and computers or would rather flee to a wild corner of the earth and exist on dew drops and berries, the progress being made in the field of artificial intelligence shows no signs of slowing down.


IBM recently launched an initiative called The Watson Group. Bringing together a hub of around 2,000 humans and the super intelligent Watson computer, the group’s remit is to provide data visualisation and analytics using cognitive technology (processing information more like a human than a computer).


Watermark’s Yulia Vysotskaya was one of 30 international illustrators invited by IBM agency Ogilvy & Mather to help launch The Watson Group by creating a poster illustration. Each poster became part of a series called ‘Man with Machine’, designed to show that anything is possible when man and machine come together to think.


Illustrators were given a provocative quote to inspire their design and asked to include the IBM motto ‘think’ in the execution. Yulia’s image was inspired by innovation consultant and author John Emmerling’s quote, “Innovation is creativity with a job to do.”

I thought the idea of combining a butterfly, one of nature's most delicate creations, with man-made steel cogs and machinery parts would illustrate the quote nicely,” explained Yulia. “When looking at this poster I would like people to live by the quote and not be afraid of innovation as it can lead to limitless creative possibilities.

And that’s not all! To top it off, the project was a winner at the New Zealand Best Design Awards, taking home a gleaming Gold for the Design Craft category. Toot Toot!


Each illustration was translated into a poster, book and animations with the campaign receiving a Cannes Lion nomination.

How would you have translated Emmerling’s quote into an image?