Sam Brady

FurDU Logo

My Role

  • Branding
  • Illustration
  • Web Design
  • Front End Dev
  • Graphic Design
  • EDM Design
  • Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Product Design

FurDU is a small science fiction, fantasy and pop culture convention held on the Gold Coast with a focus on cartoons and animals. I illustrated and developed a persistent brand for the group and aided in the development a large bank of assets and visual elements for the 2015 convention. I took the opportunity to experiment a little by modernising some old concepts, reworking the user experience and trialling some new ideas and approaches to increase engagement and add to the enjoyment of attendees.


FurDU has been running since 2010 on a year-to-year basis with a very small team. A lot of design aspects, such as branding, had never been addressed, meaning I was able to develop an aesthetic for an event which had already established itself and gained some popularity.

FurDU Logo 1
FurDU Logo 2
FurDU Logo 3
FurDU Logo 4

The convention mascot has informally been a kangaroo since the event's inception. The character was integrated into a logo with an accompanying wordmark. The lockup was designed to embody the casual spirit of partying and fun the convention is known for. The logo appeared in all print and digital collateral and periodicals and was printed onto a flag, which flew outside the hotel during the three days of the convention.

Jurassic Safari Logo with illustration

Dinosaurs are a popular topic among people of all ages, and I wanted to use this to the convention's advantage, encouraging creative contributions from the community. I started work on the theme by illustrating a logo for "Jurassic Safari" in stone and amber, before then looking at how I could integrate it into the design of a website.


I produced a number of digital illustrations and vector and photography based patterns as assets for later integration into web, digital and traditional executions.

The Teaser Website

As a principle, the convention runs at-cost every year, pumping whatever money is generated through registrations back into bettering the event. I set up an early teaser website, to provide myself time for development of a fully functional website, while also allowing attendees to register early at a discount.

This meant the convention was granted access to much needed provisions to fund the early stages of the event's organisation for the year. The project involved a combination of graphic design, web design, UX design, front end development and illustration. I was lucky enough to be paired with an extremely talented developer, who set up the schema and backend functionality to allow users to register though a paypal payment gateway, with access to the full site being granted to all users upon release.

Early site screenshot

The Full Website

I employed Google Analytics to study the behaviour of the teaser site's users, finding that 75% of users accessed the site via desktop, with 25% accessing via mobile platforms. The full website's purpose during the months leading up to the convention was to serve as a promotional platform, showing off features and encouraging registrations. In the weeks before the convention, the function of the site switched from promotional platform to information hub. As a first port of call for information, the site was able to reduce the load on organisers and volunteers by stemming the influx of queries and last-minute issues from attending artists, exhibitors, performers and general attendees. During the weekend of the convention, the user split was much more mobile-centric, with 65% mobile users and 35% on desktop.

Having predicted this need for an effectively responsive design, I developed both the early teaser site and full website using Zurb's responsive Foundation front end framework, minimising time spent in front end development so I could focus on web and UX design. SASS was employed to collate CSS, and a number of plugins and tools, including jquery and Font Awesome were employed for minor aesthetic details.

Early site screenshot

Map Screenshot

Google maps was embedded into the homepage, with a restyled API to fit with the site's design. The FurDU Twitter feed was also integrated for quick updates, with similar stylings to the API.


FurDU Map Customisation

Admin Panel Screenshot

A user control panel allowed for users to monitor and modify orders and registration status. Admin tools were also integrated for to allow for monitoring and modification of user info.


FurDU likes to surprise attendees with goodies, but with so many items to give away, and so many being customisable (like the below noted "Park ID Badge"), backend reporting tools were needed to allow organisers to keep track for ordering and to ensure attendees received the correct items when entering the convention space on event day. The project’s back end developer created a database component and set of GUI supported admin tools to maintain and track user accounts and associated purchases and rewards. These tools also tracked paypal activity, allowing for exact budgeting.

Convention Book

Conbooks are something of a tradition for conventions like these. In the past, they’ve served as a sort of zine-like community annual for art, stories, interviews and other entertainment, as well as important convention information like timetables, event descriptions, special guest details, and a code of conduct. Social media platforms and the internet in general has somewhat lowered the usefulness of a print publication for these purposes. A Conbook, once a necessary part of any convention experience, is now more of a peripheral expectation that serves no immediate purpose. Understanding this, I sought to make the 2015 conbook a celebration of local artistic work, to help promote artists dealing at the convention while also serving as a free souvenir for attendees to pore over once the convention is over.

My aim with this project was to encourage cohesion and collaboration in the local community in what small ways I could, by courting all visiting artists to submit work for display. I did this by creating a submission guide and inspiration book, in which I compiled work fitting with the conventions theme from as wide a field as possible.

Early site screenshot

The convention book itself is a 32 page A4 magazine, covering a lot of information on the website, and also bringing together the work of 20 different artists of varying skills, styles and backgrounds. While I was responsible for the design, copywriting, pagination and print-readying of the magazine, much of the content in the final proof was the result of collaborations and donations of work from artists in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, America and the UK.

Bandwidth has been a common issue among attendees, who find that they use a sizable chunk of their quota at the convention. The convention website contained image assets optimised for web, to minimise load and maximise speed, however for those looking to go offline, I trialled a pocket edition of the Conbook. This mobile friendly pdf contains maps, event schedules and the Code of Conduct for easy download and offline use.


Social Media

Twitter and Facebook are the primary social platforms for the convention’s promotion. I designed images to accompany major announcements to ensure they were noticed in the ever more cluttered feeds of attendees. The twitter API was integrated into the website, to encourage users to follow and utilise the platform for minor updates and to socialise with each other while at the convention.

Mailing list

A large proportion of FurDU’s target audience gets their information from facebook, however a significant number of attendees prefer not to use the platform, and have been frustrated in the past, feeling out of the loop regarding news and updates. The site’s homepage has a news section provisioned for this purpose, but to keep these attendees engaged, I set up a mailing list through mailchimp, allowing people to subscribe through the site for updates.

Around 1/5th of attendees made use of this service, signing up in increasing numbers in the months leading up the convention. Copywriting and design similar to facebook campaigns were employed to encourage engagement, and all users who subscribed were retained for the entirety of the campaign.

An additional design was required for system-generated emails, such as registration confirmation and password resets. Zurb maintain a framework for responsive email design, called Ink, which was used for this purpose.

Cross promotion

Conbooks, as mentioned earlier, have become something of a peripheral novelty for a lot of conventions, with many no longer setting aside the relatively high budget to print one, or setting aside a smaller budget to print a few for those who want to seek one out. Swapping advertisement space in conbooks used to be a standard practice, but with so many now going without one altogether, the platform of promotion has changed to fliers, cards and freebies. With these factors in mind, I designed a DL flyer for distribution at conventions in Singapore and the US.

Additional Content

Two tiers of registration exist for attendees, regular and sponsor. A sponsor registration costs twice that of a regular registration, however it is accompanied by perks which have become something of notoriety with the convention. The purpose of sponsorship is to allow those who wish to support the convention to do so in a way that can be properly recorded. I aided in production of a few of the sponsor rewards, which were unlocked in tiers to an upper limit of 150 spots.

Custom badge designs were a perk introduced in the previous year, and a similar set of tools was integrated to allow sponsors to create their own novelty “Park ID Badge” to carry in addition to their mandated convention badge. These were created using a tool in the user’s control panel and custom printed for presentation at the convention, along with a sponsor shirt, exclusive art print and beach towel co-ordinated by other artists. I created a suite of colour coded design options for attendees to select from and fill in.

I also designed a custom lanyard, to be presented to all attendees in their conbag. The colourful and silly pattern was designed to sit well with the rear design of the sponsor badge, and also to accommodate the playful and party-focused mindset of attendees. Demand for conbooks and lanyards was so high that they ran out on the first day of the convention.