Zscaler IT Heroes
The marketing and design teams at Zscaler had the idea to highlight their impressive list of clients in a monthly comic strip they named "IT Heroes". Each strip features a client who has been an outstanding brand ambassador, and consists of three panels depicting the hero transitioning their companies cloud security from a cobbled together "best of breed" situation where different systems might have trouble working together, to a system like Zscaler that is built to integrate out of the box.
Below are a few examples, followed by a quick rundown of my work process of concept sketches, color comp, and then the final vector artwork.
United Airlines - Deneen DeFiore
Deneen DeFiore is the CISO for United Airlines. For this concept, the analogy is of an old looking, hastily packed cumbersome suitcase representing out of date VPN services. The suitcase has travel stickers on it, but instead of world famous locations like "The Great Wall of China" or "I Love NY", they say "The Great Firewall", "I Love IT", "VPN", etc. She then hands the baggage over to a Zscaler attendant, and she's off, unencumbered.
Southwest Gas -Larry Rosenbusch & David Petroski
Southwest Gas is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, and provides natural gas service to over 2 million customers in parts of Arizona, Nevada, and California. This concept uses the Neon Boneyard Museum as an analogy for obsolete network security services like VPN that are competitors to Zscaler. Larry and David come across a sign pointing them in the direction of Zscaler, and a more comprehensive cloud based network security solution.
City of Los Angeles - Ted Ross
Ted Ross, CIO for the City of Los Angeles turned to Zscaler when it was necessary for city workers to securely work from home. During the pandemic lockdown, many employers were caught unprepared to have most of their workforce telecommuting. Los Angeles is famous for many things, and traffic is by far the least glamourous. It did however make for a great analogy for the bind they were in. Zscaler was there to free their workforce from the turmoil of Los Angeles traffic, and dangerously inadequate VPN systems and firewalls. 
Hydro - Armin Auth
Hydro is a leading aluminum and renewable energy company that builds businesses and partnerships for a more sustainable future. As the name suggests, hydroelectric power is part of their portfolio. Armin Auth, IS Manager at Hydro turned to Zscaler for a better cloud security solution that is also more energy efficient. For this concept Hydro's old VPN systems are likened to a smoking motorized raft being caught up in the rapids. Armin then upgrades to a more stable, clean energy solution with the Zscaler security service represented by a sailboat.
Royal Caribbean Group - John Maya
For Royal Caribbean Group, John Maya, VP of IT infrastructure starts off swimming in the ocean surrounded by sharks, wearing a pair of floaties representing their old VPN system. As a cruise ship pulls along side, a Zscaler life preserver ring is lowered down to save John from the dangerous waters. He is pulled onboard and sails off into the sunset.
The following is a look into my process of creating a Zscaler IT Hero comic. After reviewing the information provided by the client, I start by writing down a word association list to help me think of possible ideas, then creating thumbnails.
Thumbnail Sketches for Royal Caribbean
Option 1: Treasure
John starts out on the bridge of a ship with a treasure map. On the map you can see dangers, and the treasure is marked with a "Z" rather than an "X". In the final frame he is on a beach opening a treasure chest, the treasure being Zscaler cloud security.
Option 2: Bell Hop/Concierge
Dealing with a security solution built out of best of breed offerings brings a lot of baggage. Other solutions are very cumbersome because clients often buy different solutions from different vendors. A bellhop/concierge dressed in blue with a Zscaler logo shows up and offers an integrated platform solution that simplifies and improves the cloud security of Royal Caribbean.
Option 3: Life Preserver
John is swimming in the ocean surrounded by sharks with just floaties on representing an older security solution. A ship comes alongside and throws down a blue lifesaver with Zscaler logos. They then sail off into the Zscaler sunset.
Color Comp
Once the thumbnail ideas are reviewed and the client has chosen a direction, I collect and create any photo reference I may need, then refine the drawings, and comp them up in color. All of my sketching and coloring at this point is done in Photoshop. The client has usually provided the copy at this point, and it is put in place to be sure it fits well within the frame compositions. 
Final Vector Art
Any final adjustments are usually handled during the color comp stage. After the color comp is approved, the last step is to recreate the artwork in vector format using Adobe Illustrator. Vector art was stipulated by the client to be a necessity as it is easily scalable, and great for various applications. A dot pattern that is part of the Zscaler brand is also added in the final art. The artwork is printed on a plaque and presented to the client in appreciation for their brand advocacy. It is also posted to social media as a marketing tool to build brand awareness.
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