The CGIAR Mosaic Banner: Inspiration, Sources and Method

cgiar mosaic bannerThe CGIAR mosaic banner was one of the first pieces of work I completed when I joined the CGIAR Consortium office as their Online Media Coordinator.

The full banner, as you can see on the left, was designed for use at conferences, in offices and as general branding for exhibitions.

When printed as a pop-up banner, it is 85cm x 200cm, standing well over head height. While the design is simple and predominantly focused on the CGIAR logo, the painstaking hours and computer processing power it took to complete, cannot be overlooked.

There are 360 photos in the mosaic and none of them are repeated. The final size of the source file is almost 2GB, made up almost entirely from the high resolution photos in the background.

Individually cropping, sorting and aligning images for the banner was hard enough, but flipping the banner over, you’ll see the same photos (mirrored), but with their photo credits overlaid and aligned to the front, so as to determine who took the photo and to which organisation it belongs.

A HUGE thank you to Martina Mascarenhas who assisted with copying all of the photo credits from a long list in my browser history!

Since its inception almost a year ago, it has become the standard branding used at conferences in New York, Accra, Abu Dhabi, Montpellier and more. Also being in hot demand, many CGIAR Centers and Research Programs have requested the files for them to print locally.

If you’d also like a copy of the source files, email me your request, and I’d be happy to share the link where it can be downloaded.

cgiar mosaic banner reverse credits

The reverse side of the mosaic banner


The original inspiration for this piece came from Hannah Edwards, Communications Manager at the CGIAR Consortium, who had seen the Queen’s portrait in Gatwick Airport. Building on this idea, our initial plan was to make the logo itself appear out of the mosaic. While effective, the brand was lost in all of the photos, so reversing the appearance, the mosaic simply made up the background instead.

The photos used in the mosaic represent all CGIAR Centers and Research Programs. There is an even number and distribution of photos, which signify as much of the scientific research as possible, across all corners of the globe where CGIAR is working.


All photos used in the mosaic banner can be found in this Flickr photo album from the CGIAR Consortium. The photos were used under Creative Commons License A-NC-SA 2.0, and can be found on their respective Center and Research Program Flickr accounts.


The method for reproducing this mosaic banner with your own branding is relatively simple, I’ll give you a quick introduction to how I completed this using Adobe Photoshop CC. There is a more detailed and visual guide on how to create a mosaic in photoshop on YouTube.

  1. Download all photos in high resolution and save them to a single folder for ease of access.
  2. Setup a new document in Photoshop and create guides that are evenly spaced vertically and horizontally.
  3. Place all of the images on the document and trim each photo to fit the guided spaces.
  4. Save this document as a pattern that you can access later.
  5. Create a new document, adding in your branding and textual content.
  6. Create a background layer and apply the previously saved pattern as the background. Here you can change the visual look of the mosaic using filters.
  7. Save and export in the required size and file type.

The banner in use

frank rijsberman new york mosaic banner

Frank Rijsberman presents at the CGIAR Development Dialogues in New York. Photo: CGIAR

mosaic banner cgiar consortium office

The banner in the CGIAR Consortium Office entrance. Photo: Samuel Stacey

mosaic banner at gfia

The banner on display at the CGIAR hub at GFIA in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Samuel Stacey