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GitHub Universe

Learn about how we brought this idea to life

About the project

For the previous two years in a burnt out warehouse on Pier 70 in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, Manifold has produced GitHub’s annual developers event for 1,000+ community members.

The brief: Burning Man meets TED, with a whimsical vibe, combining high-tech and art, creating a sense of community for all who walk through the door. The theme: The three core phases of well-designed code – Build, Collaborate and Deploy (2015) and Launch, Flight and Orbit (2016).

The cornerstone of GitHub’s event philosophy revolves around creating an authentic experience at each of the company’s hosted events. Working closely with the GitHub team, we consider how we can make this event truly unique and memorable for attendees. It comes down to an experience that included a palpable sense of community and an organic element of surprise and delight.

Services Provided

  • Campaign Management
  • Creative Direction

In 2016, Manifold in collaboration with GitHub brought the show to life in a way we hadn’t previously imagined possible. Cloud nebula were rigged from the ceiling; sponsored art exhibits were placed throughout, a VR experience inside a cardboard rocketship brought the childhood wonder of exploration to life, and a centerstage centerpiece: speakers were surrounded by a planetary observatory where the universe slowly revolved behind speakers on a high definition panel of LED displays.

At the conclusion of first day, Manifold produced a benefit concert for GitHub featuring Lion Babe and Common. Proceeds from the concert were donated to Black Girls Code, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on providing technology education to African-American girls ages 7–17.

Below are images from GitHub Universe 2016.


Watch how GitHub Universe 2016 came to life.

To open the event in 2015, the GitHub octocat appeared in full, living color in an animated short created especially for Universe by the GitHub creative team. GitHub’s CEO and Co-Founder, Chris Wanstrath warmly welcomed attendees and made several exciting announcements about new GitHub product developments and partnerships. Over the course of two days, attendees heard from a wide range of speakers including executives at Nasa, Pixar, GE, Ford, Target, Airbnb and others about how great software is changing every aspect of our daily lives.

To keep attendees well energized, we offered Ritual Coffee at the GitHub Airstream Coffee Hut, healthy fresh-squeezed juices from The Juice Truck and a “Hair of the Dog” morning-after option including Mimosas, Bloody Marys and Grey Hounds.

We incorporated live aspects throughout the event, with visually entertaining interactive art and design installations – a full wall-sized octocat installation, created with hundreds of small colored plastic cups and a chain link fence, commissioned by artist Robert Gonzalez; a cityscape graffiti wall, commissioned by artists Antoine Marnata and Jose Guerra; intricate hand-knitted, yarn-bombed bench seating, commissioned by artists Lorna Watt and Jill Watt; and a clean-canvased “Obliteration Room” to enable attendees to unleash their creativity during event breaks, inspired by the popular interactive children’s project developed by well-known artist, Yayoi Kusama.

Below are images from GitHub Universe 2015.



GitHub aims to create a space where people feel immersed and inspired to have conversations with others passionate about working together to build great software. Feedback from the community has been extremely positive.

  • On stage at GitHub Universe, the company's annual conference, CEO Chris Wanstrath explained that scientists, journalists, and other number-crunchers are finding ways to use GitHub to write code and collect sample data. Right now, there are 36 million visitors to GitHub every day, Wanstrath says.

    Business Insider
  • At the GitHub Universe conference, the company showed off tools that add to the popular code-sharing site's developer capabilities.

  • Thanks for #githubuniverse @github - great talks, sweet swag and truly amazing people working on amazing things! Can't wait till next year!

  • @github @githubuniverse You guys threw an awesome event! Cool venue, chill people, and good vibes. Thank you! #githubuniverse #Github

  • Spent an amazing two days at #githubuniverse conference. Great community and thoughtfully-planned event.

  • Also, these are probably the coolest conference name tags I've seen to date. @smartzip @github #githubuniverse

  • Ok, @githubuniverse this is actually really cool. Decking out a rusty warehouse... 'Like' #github

  • Butter to the roof here at #githubuniverse. This sets a new baseline for conference. Although, let's wait for the talks.

  • So blown away by the @githubuniverse set up! Pumped for talks to start!

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