Karen Rustad Tolva

Portfolio > OpenHatch

OpenHatch logo, with 'Code is fun Sufjan the baby penguin

During the summer of 2009 I participated in a startup incubator as a member of the OpenHatch team. I designed a baby penguin mascot for the company named Sufjan. (The name came from the musician Sufjan Stevens, as his picture had been used as a placeholder previously and we didn't bother to change the filename.)

Sufjan busking Sufjan sitting in an orange tree, with caption 'free software's welcoming committee'

Originally Sufjan was just meant to be the default profile photo for new users, but the character took on a life of its own.

Sufjan went through many variants, including hand-drawn Sufjans sent to our donors as thank-you gifts.

Wizard Sufjan Sufjan in a martini glass Asheesh Laroia dressed up as Ash Ketchum from Pokemon, holding Sufjan in one hand Sufjan riding a triceratops Sufjan wearing a tie next to a mug with the Open Source Software logo Sufjan with sunglasses drinking lemonade through a straw Sufjan blindfolded holding a bat in its beak, next to a piñata. A banner reading 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUFJAN' is in the background and two wrapped gifts are nearby. Sufjan sitting on a skateboard, wearing a helmet and elbow pads on its wings Sufjan sitting in a bowl of fruit
Tiny Sufjan peering out from under a mushroom Sufjan in a spacesuit, floating in space Sufjan holding the strings to a bunch of balloons in its beak. The balloons are making Sufjan float upwards.

As lead designer, and later as a volunteer and board member, I iterated on the website's styling over several years as the organization's focus shifted from online tools to education and events. Working on the OpenHatch website was my introduction to programming in Python and to the web framework Django.

Screenshot of openhatch.org circa 2009 Screenshot of openhatch.org in late 2009 Screenshot of openhatch.org circa 2011

The OpenHatch web app also featured banner cartoons for each section.

Missions section with a boulderer mid-climb People section with set of FOSS personas Projects section with blueprints Cartoon of a container ship with different famous open source projects' logos on the containers