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The sound of laughter

Before monoface went live there was a lot of laughter within the walls of mono as we played with the various face combinations. However, we thought the freaky face combinations might only be humorous to ourselves.

Within 1 week of launching on January 1st, we tracked over 20 million page views according to Alexa. We were posted on hundreds of blogs from all over the world. Our Internet Provider even had to limit traffic because we were taking down their shared server. A simple idea had come to life, and it was fun to watch.

We had a very limited budget, about 1 month to produce it, and a team of about 3-4 people. Stephanie Rau, the photographer, was given the task of capturing some funny expressions.

Mix and blend

We kept everyone from feeling too self-conscious by reminding them that people would most likely be mixing all the face features to make the most mutant looking human possible.

Once we received the shots, there was a lot of time spent in photoshop trying to make all 15 faces work together. We ended up with 75 different parts that had to work on all the different faces.

We then calculated that being able to change out the nose, mouth, each eye and head/shoulders would create 759,375 different faces. That was more than enough for us to realize that this site could be a great time waster, even though I doubt anyone would spend the time creating all of them.

Flashing the face

From that point, we handed things over to Jim Park the Flash Extraordinaire. He was really excited from the first day we talked to him about the idea. He wanted to play a big part making this an idea come to life.

He did an amazing job under all the pressure and time/budget constraints. Plus, he gave up his New Year’s Eve and Day to make sure it went live on January 1st, at 1:00am. Due to the time crunch, we made some last minute decisions that ended up changing a lot of how the site functioned.

Last minute decisions

Originally, there was going to be a “save face” option built into the site. People could create a face, name it, and then save it to the gallery. With only days before we went live, we realized that wasn’t going to happen.

So we decided to create the gallery more conceptually to have it represent all 759,375 combinations. After it went live, we saw from the feedback that people just seemed to have fun making faces. We didn’t think at that point it would even be necessary to make the save face functionality.

There were a couple other things we wanted to bring to life that are now available.

Easter eggs

First, we have put a monoface screensaver into the nav on the live site. We also have a couple small easter eggs when you click the word “face” in monoface, both on the main screen and in the gallery. There were only a couple other things we thought about doing, but will have to leave them in the cryogenic tank.

monoface 2.0?

As for next year, I don’t think we will attempt monoface 2.0, the video version. But, we would love to see someone else try it.


About the Author, T.Scott Major
Creative Director, mono

T.Scott Major is the Interactive Creative Director at mono in Minneapolis, MN. He still has a beautiful wife, Erin whom he met on a blind date. They have two sons, Thomas (2) and Titus (8 months), and hope for a lot more.


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