New Year, New Theme, New Creative

Stories: With Great Influence Comes Great Responsibility; our 2019 Global theme at Social Media Week.

My initial stab at the 2019 look and feel began with creating designs depicting hand-art left by early humans nearly 8000 years ago in caves scattered all around the world. The poly-art hands depict the digital prints we create in the present.

Even then, we (humans) were obsessed with telling the story of 'us'. We did not want to be forgotten. Or perhaps we were just bored. Either way, the creative was just a tad bit abstract and I abondened it, and went in a different direction.

SMW 2018 Creative

Its all about the colors, Stupid!

I decided to simplify the design. The colors that I've used last year; pink transitioning to blue; symbolizing 'human intelligence; life' (pink) blending, interacting with, and co-existing with artificial intelligence (blue), worked incredibly well last year and made for some impressionable digital and print assets.

I build upon that. I designed a virtual hand, interfacing with a HUD. The HUD, composed of abstract shapes, depict the bits and pieces of visual and text-based data that we all weave together on a daily basis to digest a story. The hand, belonging to the consumer, the user, is the focal point.

The hand is purposely palm-facing in order to create an illusion that the audience at our conferences are looking directly at their targetted consumer behind a screen. Our attendees are the story makers.

In any case, that is just my personal take on the artwork, and nothing official; I have not had to defend it just yet. I'm about to be a father of a little girl; pink has been highly impressionable on me as of late. I'm going with that story for now.

The Stages

#SMWNYC (Social Media Week New York) consisted of 4 stages; each with their own unique backdrop. The main stage featured a digital wall; while not curved like last year, the vibrance generated by the digital displays made an incredible impact on the visual aesthetic of the stage.

Other stages used the same fabric material as last year all depcting the artwork.


Creative Strategy

Stages are just a small fraction of our overal design strategy and execution. However, having established the look and feel of the stage backdrops, I was able to devise a creative strategy that we've used to create digital assets depcting our global theme and our speakers in order to promote all of Social Media Week Conferences.

Blend modes in Photoshop helped to assimulate our speakers with the global theme art. More then any year prior at Social Media Week, we finally had a truelly unique creative strategy in the way we visual portrayed the conference. The process in creating these assets is still difficult, but if it was cookie-cutter and simple, it would look exactly like the amount of effort that was put into it.

Conference Wayfinding

Color everything pink and blue.

I'd like to thank my work-colleage, and fellow creative, Lauren Astor, who took my creative and worked alongside me to conceive and design hundreds of digital and print assets since. Between the two of us, we are one lean creative machine.

Mid-way through the year, we've established a relationship with a creative/advertising agency called Grey; They took my strategy, and quickly began executing artwork for our year-ending conference in London (#SMWLDN) later this year.


..and then came along, Andy King

Andy has now spoken at both Social Media Week New York (#SMWNYC) and Los Angeles (#SMWLA) and I can't think of a better individual who best exemplifies the 2019 global theme. I won't get into the details of Fyre Fest, although I'm sure everyone knows who he is at this point. Andy has embraced the meme that he's become and has since worked with non-profits as well as some hollywood celebs to raise money for various green initiatives, including paying back some of the Fyre Festival employees back in the Bahamas.

You can watch Andy's session on SMW Insider; a subscription-based, live and OnDemand Video platform which as of writing thhis, boast well over 1000 hours of conference footage of nearly 3 years of brilliant minds that have graced SMW stages.

SMW Insider Explained

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