IBM Wave

a virtualization management solution for IBM z/VM and Linux

The IBM Wave for z/VM product was an acquisition and needed to quickly go through intensive changes to make it an IBM product. This process, and an extensive backlog of defects, left little room for broad design changes.

I joined the IBM Wave team in the fall of 2015. At the time there were three senior designers on the project. The recent shift toward a focus on design in IBM hadn't fully taken hold yet in z Systems and most of the work our design team did were related to mockups for bug fixes and maintenance.

In my spare time on this project I worked to create a style guide that could support future designs for the program.

As design took a stronger hold on projects in z Systems, teams came together to develop a z Systems Styleguide. To ensure that IBM Wave fit in with that family, I based the new style guide on the guidelines set out in the z Systems style guide.

After reviewing the systems style guide I began some exploratory panels to determine what elements worked best for IBM Wave.

Based on the buisness focus at the time, I was asked to deprioritize this work.


IBM Wave Logo

The IBM Wave for z/VM team created sweatshirts to build team unity and celebrate a release, but the only identifying graphic for Wave was a very low resolution icon that comes up in the status bar when Wave is opened on the user’s computer. Much of the team didn’t like the icon, so the designs below show the process of creating a new logo and team sweatshirt.

In order to explore as many different ideas as possible, this design project began with a lot of sketching. There are many different interpretations of the word "wave". After sketching sound waves, ocean waves, and ideas that didn't involve waves, the team all preferred the ocean wave reference because it was similar to the current logo.

Some more focused exploration of the better ideas led to a final logo that the team was really pleased with.

A variation of the logo was printed on team sweatshirts.


The Team

  • Design Lead: Laura Barerra
  • UX Designer: Cheryl Loughlin
  • Visual Designer: Ann Novelli
  • Front End Developer: Christopher Robbins