clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

2017: a year in Verge illustrations

Creating editorial illustrations can be challenging. Each illustration has to balance the message of the article, help pull in readers, showcase the talent of The Verge’s style (as well as the artists themselves), all while working toward an indefinite deadline. But it’s these challenges that make the illustrations so rewarding for us as creators — and hopefully you as the readers.

Below is a collection of some of our best and favorite illustrations from 2017.


Signal Boost

Illustrations by Cam Floyd


The VC-funded day job of a fringe online philosopher

Illustration by William Joel


The Empathy Layer

Illustration by Peter Steineck

The Future Agency

Illustration by William Joel


Massive Attack

Illustrations by Jude Buffum

Instant Recall

Illustration by William Joel


Illustrations by Peter Steineck

April 29th marked President Trump’s 100th day in office. We wrote five essays detailing the first 100 days and commissioned the talented Peter Steineck to create illustrations that would complement each essay and then to mix all those together for a great lede for the entire article. My favorite part of art directing a project is ideation, and working with Peter — pitching ideas back and forth, sharing sketches — was amazing. William Joel

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Galaxy S8 wallpaper

Created by William Joel

Okay, so this wasn’t an illustration for an article, but nonetheless it is one of my favorite illustrations for The Verge. The idea was to create a custom wallpaper to show off the edges on the Samsung Galaxy S8 for our review. I spent a few hours playing around with the idea of “lines,” eventually landing on the final composition. Immediately it hit us that we should be creating a custom wallpaper for every phone review. And so far we’ve done just that. William Joel

Electric lines wallpaper

The Replacements

Illustration by William Joel


Flying taxis or futuristic tunnels won’t save us from the misery of traffic

Illustration by James Bareham

Free Chelsea

Illustration by Eric Petersen

One of Us

Illustration by Eric Petersen

How Anker is beating Apple and Samsung at their own accessory game

Illustration by William Joel

The Viral Machine

Illustrations by Alex Castro

Mossberg: The Disappearing Computer

Illustration by William Joel


How close are we to building the virtual Big Market from Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets?

Illustration by William Joel


Opening Act

Illustrations by Garret Beard

Two-factor authentication is a mess

Illustration by Garret Beard

This is one of my favorite things I’ve crafted here at The Verge because I felt it nailed the most important part of an illustration: the idea/concept/magic sauce. I started out sketching a few ideas and kept coming back to this idea of stairs because, ya know, two step = two factor. It just felt right. After settling in on the idea I started on execution and thought an isometric illustration would be able to show the stairs best, and shipped this a few days after. Garret Beard

The Internet is Fucked (Again)

Illustration by William Joel

Gallery View

Illustrations By Garret Beard



The Women Who Sell Nudes on Patreon

Illustration by Alex Castro

This piece was one of my favorite from the year not because of its visual complexity, but for its depth of meaning in relation to the story. Patreon, a website many use to support artists they follow, has seen a growth in models using the service to trade nudes and private video sessions for money. It leads to a broader conversation of what is art or what is an acceptable type of content to be hosted on an artistic platform. The usage of a Venus statue in and response to it in our comments section related to this conflict. Many users were surprised to see a nude statue on our homepage, stating that it was NSFW. However, as some users pointed out, this isn’t any different than what you’d see in museums. What is and isn’t art? What is and isn’t appropriate? Where’s the line, not only for Patreon, but also for The Verge? Alex Castro

Internet Culture

Illustrations by Garret Beard

This piece is definitely in the top five most challenging projects I’ve done here. Character design was something I wanted to sharpen up on, and this project dropped on my lap and gave me that chance. I started with a ton of research, knowing each character was pretty unique. Sketching was next until I had a set of characters I felt were strong enough to get onto the screen. From there the process was straightforward with vectoring to motion to completion. Garret Beard

As net neutrality dies, one man wants to make Verizon pay for its sins

Illustrations by Alex Castro

You can’t fix something by ignoring it

Illustration by William Joel


Illustration by Alex Castro

Looking for the future of technology among the startup strivers

Illustrations by William Joel and Alex Castro

How YouTube perfected the feed

Illustration by William Joel


Searching for Help

Illustrations by Eric Petersen

Diary of a Concussion

Illustrations by Alex Castro

Liz Lopatto’s “Diary of a Concussion” beautifully and intimately recounts recovering from a biking accident that left her with a concussion. The story details what it’s like to wake up with a brain that is physically different from before, and how this impacted how she interacted with the world around her. I wanted to communicate this change in the illustrations. Showing how everyday stimuli turns into one’s enemy, making them unable to listen to music or go out in the sun. How even the noise of birds chirping outside can turn into nails on a chalkboard. Having a sudden change in how your brain works also places you outside yourself, questioning what’s happening to you. I decided to blend this concept with the actual impact on the brain, showing a shockwave pushing her conscious aside. Alex Castro


Meet nocebo, placebo’s ‘evil twin’

Illustration by Alex Castro

Ghost in the cell

Illustrations by Cam Floyd

Why’d You Push That Button?

Illustrations by Garret Beard & William Joel

Guiding Light

Illustration by William Joel

fire stock illustrations

Extreme weather has already cost the US $350 billion — and climate change is going to add to the bill

Illustrations by Alex Castro


Pro-science group sets up new ways for government scientists to blow the whistle

Illustration by Alex Castro

Drug Hunters

Illustrations by Alex Castro


Smoke Screen

Illustrations by Alex Castro

Net Neutrality is Dead

Illustration by Alex Castro

Coming in right at the buzzer for the year in review, this illustration has to be one of my favorite of 2017. Building off the foundation of a previous net neutrality illustration, this piece was able to push to a larger scale of world building. Being a massive fan of Star Wars and newer fan of Blade Runner, I’ve always wanted to create my own universe. Illustrating a dystopian future post-net neutrality was the perfect opportunity. This piece isn’t exactly my prediction of our future but the interpretation of the emotions of the public as a result of the FCC’s decision. This world is a look into the internet's worst nightmare. It might not make sense, but it still terrifies nonetheless.

Special thanks to James Bareham for taking the photos of circuit boards that make up the city’s foundation, and to William Joel for teaching me how to use Cinema 4D to create the buildings. Alex Castro

The internet we left behind

Illustration by William Joel

In 2017, key Facebook builders disowned their creation

Illustration by William Joel

Vulnerabilities and Exploits

Illustration by William Joel

2017 was YouTube’s best year ever. It was also its worst.

Illustration by Garret Beard

How recreational marijuana in California left chemists in the dark

Illustrations by Alex Castro

Elon Musk

Elon Musk changes plans, sells $6.9 billion in Tesla shares with Twitter trial looming


Apple won’t even tell Ben Stiller how many of you are watching Severance


Microsoft celebrates 15 years of OneDrive with a redesign and new features