Tyrus is an online toolkit by Airbnb made for creatives, by creatives. Born as a response to the insights gained from the close collaboration between Airbnb Design and illustrators around the world, the website sets out to empower illustrators as they navigate the myriad of challenges within project management and remote working. Tyrus encourages dialogue about an industry that can be both misunderstood and undervalued, and addresses the tricky and less glamorous underbelly of a creative practice: managing clients, time, and budgets. The toolkit offers various guides, examples, and templates, enabling freelancers to transform their practice and spend more time on what they love. Only a few months after Tyrus's launch, Airbnb announced that over 2.6 million creatives had already explored the toolkit.
The visual language of Tyrus builds upon these two different sides of being an illustrator, joining together expressive creativity with the diligence and organization that comes with managing projects and clients. Through a strong modular grid, the design nods to the spreadsheets, forms, charts, and calendars that exist in the world of freelancers, juxtaposed by vivid and unconfined illustrations that then blossom out of this structure.
The design system had to be flexible enough to allow for the platform to adapt to an array of illustration styles, content, and formats. It’s type-centric approach and functional use of color builds a space where this wide range of illustrations can shine. The play between Tiempos and Airbnb’s Cereal, as well as the system’s particular modularity, balances the overarching voice of Airbnb with Tyrus’s own personality. The modular framework constructs a digestible and engaging way to navigate the dense content, and accounts for the varied needs of each user, effortlessly allowing them to spring between expanding sections and specific materials.
The name pays tribute to the spirit of Tyrus Wong, a Chinese immigrant who overcame a number of hurdles and instances of prejudice before making his extraordinary mark on the creative world with his distinctive illustration style, key to the beloved film of Bambi. He exemplifies the toolkit’s core belief that a diverse range of perspectives work to make the industry stronger.
As part of Airbnb’s commitment to diverse storytelling, the website features self-identifying female illustrators—Sarula Bao, Manshen Lo, Molly Mendoza, Alexis Franklin, Camily Tsai, Marisa Seguin, Chia Chi Yu, Maggie Chiang, Sophia Foster-Dimino, and Kaitlin Chan—whose work plays a principal role in illuminating concepts within the kit.