The AIGA Design Conference is the premier gathering of graphic designers in the United States, and it’s always an occasion to do something special. When I spoke at the conference in Memphis in 2009, I created an elaborate animated introduction and invited a Daily Monster to talk with me live on stage. Six years later, AIGA’s executive director Ric Grefé invited me to be the programming chair for the 2015 Conference in New Orleans. Once again, it was an opportunity to bust a move.
In 2009 I had no idea how much work went into programming an event like this. Sure, I’d organized a national congress for the Donaldists back in 1989, but back then we had 400 attendees, 10 speakers, and one slide projector. The AIGA Conference is a more expansive undertaking with 2,000 attendees and well over 100 speakers. Even with the full force of AIGA’s battle-hardened staff (and the great advice of Marian Bantjes) it took an intense year to gather our lineup and make sure everybody felt properly supported and prepared. An event like this pushes everybody to give their best.
The final part of my duties as chair was to welcome the audience from the stage. Having been an active time traveler for quite a while now, I informed them they were in for a great time, and that this wasn’t just empty fluffery. Having been to the future, I knew that this conference would echo through the ages. “In fact,” I told them, “I’ve already been asked to organize another conference, commemorating the 500th anniversary of this present one.” Through the threefold miracle of expert printing, transtemporal teleportation, and hardcore volunteer help, each attendant was able to reach under their chair to find a poster for this future conference.
The poster reveal as filmed by Maureen Perry. Maureen, along with Nikki Villagomez and Victor Davila, also helped me place the posters under 2,000 conference chairs. So much scooching on hotel carpet…
Dubbed “Repressurize 2515,” this conference will take place at the New London Colony in orbit around Saturn’s moon Titan from the 37th to the 39th of September 2515. It’s presented by AIGA’s successor organization, the Solar System Institute of Graphic Arts. As in 2015, designers will worry about branding for new audiences, they’ll talk about what makes a good logo, and about how to stay creative. Except now the new audience will be octopuses, logos will be grown in vats, and staying creative may involve having your head cryogenically frozen.
The poster itself is a screenshot from a 2515 display unit, fixed to paper so as to be present-compatible. (You’d never get the tiny fusion power cells through temporal customs.) It shows the basic event details, keynote speakers and their topics, sponsors, and lots of helpful tidbits about touristy things to do in the neighborhood. Of course, if you’re pressed for time and have the necessary equipment, you can always VR the entire thing by scanning the preview code:
If you are going to read through the poster, please start by checking the basic settings in the top right corner:
Travel to Saturn is still a little bit of a shlepp, but there are a variety of options available. It just depends on how much time you have or how many credits you’re willing to expend. I tend to prefer the executive cruiser—Virgin Intergalactic is a sponsor—but if you’ve never traveled by Hawking Catapult… it’s definitely something to try at least once.
Even with the considerable resources of SIGA, mounting an ambitious conference like this requires partners. Luckily, we received a lot of support from some great organizations from all over the solar system:
And then there are the sponsors, of course. The future is bright, and there will have been massive changes to the way commercial transaction are conducted. (I don’t want to give it away for you, but I’ll say this: Shoelaces. Shoelaces and neural access.) but sponsorship will never go out of style. In the end, people want to help, and it’s nice to acknowledge that with a parade of logos:
You may recognize the Oxynade logo from my Skillshare class on future logo design, and I’m sure you’ll pre-member the future logos of Space-L and Virgin Interplanetary from my gallery retrospective “Everything Is Going Exactly As Planned.” Of course, Typecraft has been my trusted printer here in the present for years, and I was happy to have their help on bringing this poster into the year 2015. That’s a fairly epic tale in and of itself. Let’s just say that precision trimming and folding is a lot easier once lightsabers become widely available.
The poster also lists a few very basic bits of about conference etiquette and travel prep:
There is some meta-data at the top, mostly to satisfy our ever vigilant friends at the Chrono-Patrol. We wouldn’t want to pollute the timeline, lest we get a stern talking-to from former President Gore. Again.
Attending any conference has its risks, of course, but going off planet requires extra attention. We encourage all attendees to read up on local customs and take some basic safety precautions. It always helps to be prepared:
But wait, there’s more:
Please don’t think it’s all dry factoids, though. There are some special travel offers waiting for you, too. Just think your promo code and you’ll be al set!
Lastly, there are image credits and one more conference courtesy advisory. On the actual poster the hyperspectral image credit is printed in a clear varnish, but I’ve made it a bit more visible for you here in the present, as I’m guessing that you’re still working with a maximum of two basic spectrum eyes.
Purely on a production level, I’d like to point out that I custom-built little transparent drop shadows and placed them on the 0.25 pt hairlines wherever the pop-up readouts overlap. That’s my commitment to quality.
Oh, and one more thing: Look at the white dots pulsating! Magic!
I hope to see you at the conference!