During the Rio 2016 Olympics, as a refuge for athletes to relax during the competitions, Beats by Dre maintained a spa house, the Unity House. To promote the new Unity line of headphones, James, the Beats photographer, was at this house taking photos of the athletes with the new headphones against a white background.

We were invited to create a unique souvenir for each athlete by customizing the photo background and sending it back to each athlete within 20 minutes. In addition to designing and editing the photos, we also developed a customized system to automate as much as possible, increasing our efficiency and reducing the likelihood of human error throughout the process.


First, we created three types of backgrounds: one based on tropical forests, another on the natural landscape of Rio, and flags of over 80 different countries. Then, we created a system to collect the athletes' data, send the original image to a processing station, and return the final photo by email. Before taking the photo, each athlete would fill out their name and email on an iPad and choose a background type.

At the processing station, there were ten Photoshop experts to cut out the photos and insert the chosen backgrounds, operating at the same time as the photos were taken in Rio. After finishing the editing, our system would send a personalized email to the athlete, informing them that the image was ready to be downloaded or shared on social media. We also set up a display integrated with the system, showing at the entrance who had already participated and how the photo looked after editing.


We developed a unique tool in a week that automated much of the work. We produced over 800 images, operating between 10 am and 5 pm simultaneously with the house. Even without any other incentive, many athletes posted the photos on their various social media profiles.

I was responsible for designing the workflow integration, creating and implementing the tool that enabled real-time delivery, and coordinating both the technology team and the designers who worked throughout the entire action.

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