The 21st annual South By Southwest Interactive (a.k.a., SXSW) festival kicks off today in Austin, Texas and several members of the Expedia team are trading in winter coats for cowboy boots as they join 30,000 attendees from across the globe for a week-long glimpse of what’s next in the world of technology. To commemorate our attendance at the event (and as a token of our gratitude to the city of Austin for being such wonderful conference hosts), we teamed up with world-renowned artist Yiying Lu on a one-of-a-kind Expedia graphic design. Armed with an assortment of special-edition Expedia swag, commemorative giveaways and prizes for event attendees and travelers along the way, we’re looking forward to connecting and networking with fellow techies to soak up the latest innovations, share cutting-edge industry insights, and help spread word about the broad availability of our award-winning Expedia mobile app.

Yiying, who you probably know for her famous Twitter “Fail Whale” and Conan O’Brien Pale Whale designs, was the perfect creative partner, and we can’t wait to show off the special commemorative Expedia design she created especially for this event. Our vision was to create something bright and imaginative that captures the boundless spirit of wonder and possibility you feel when embarking on a new travel adventure. 

We know that booking flights and hotels is just one small part of the experience, and the Expedia mobile app is a great way to plan, book, and access real-time updates and trip details. Just like visiting a brand new city with your favorite travel companion, Yiying’s design whimsically captures Austin’s skyline while evoking the notion of holding infinite travel possibilities in the palm of your hand. Look closely to spot the QR code she blended into the balloon in each graphic and simply hover your smartphone’s camera over the graphic using a code scanner to access and download our free Expedia mobile app.

During initial discussions about the project, Yiying said she had actually used the site to book her trip to SXSW before she even began working with our team on this special artwork. “I was motivated by the concept of travelers’ using Expedia’s mobile app as a window to the world,” she explained. “That is the idea that provided me with the biggest source of creative inspiration throughout my process of designing this special Expedia graphic for this year’s event.”

Follow our adventures in Austin and join the conversation online using hashtag, #Expedia. For those attending the festival, keep an eye out for our yellow t-shirts to say hello and stay tuned to @Expedia on Twitter for updates on when and where you can meet up with the Expedia team and Yiying to snag fun prizes, commemorative stickers, and other can’t-miss Expedia swag.  Be sure to follow Expedia to track us down and get your exclusive coupons for $25 off hotels.