Conferences serve as hubs for an intellectual exchange of ideas and a pursuit of excellence, and therefore the experience should reflect those same values. With design and corporate industries exploding with new technology, I was tasked with creating a compelling conference experience.
Everyone is talking about new tech. I need to make sure that the content and theme I develop is a meaningful and enticing experience that communicates its value to my users to stand out.
Highly Conceptual
One of the goals of this project is to use a strong theme and concept to drive any and all aspects of this experience. Any touchpoints I create should be clearly correlated to my established concept.
Developing a Concept
What's the Idea?
After doing some preliminary background research on conference design and the various topics of new tech in the industry (such as NFTs, crypto, blockchain, the Metaverse, climate change, etc.), I began mapping out topics and ideas that the conference could cover by using mind maps and brainstorming. This was to discover an overarching theme and concept.
The idea of mindful innovation, of consciously innovating and progressing, worked as a great theme for a conference dealing with a rapidly-growing and advancing industry.
Defining Users
After working towards a concept, I needed to identify the users of this conference to ensure the concept is applied in a way that correlates with the user's values.
Doing so, I came up with a primary and secondary user group.
User 1: Business Owners
- Want to learn about industry application of new tech
- How does it function?
- Take note of sustainability and feasibility of implementation
User 2: Workers in the Industry
- Discover future industry trends
- Learn how to ethically apply new tech
Both of these users seek insight into the latest and greatest of the emerging technological advancements being made, as well as how they can be applied practically and ethically.
Creating  the Foundation
After getting an idea of the theme and language, I began working on developing the branding for the conference.
Going through critiques, the half-and-half maze was the most well-received brand mark for the conference that lent a lot of visual elements to be used in the experience design of the event.
The end result needed to highlight the two distinct parts of exploring the landscape of technological advancements as well as being mindful of ethical and practical implementation, while showing the merging of these two ideas with the Mindscape conference.
Creating an Experience
Defining What's Needed
To get a better idea of what I would need to create to visually represent this conference's experience, I used a 5 E's method to detail a complete walkthrough of the experience.
From there, I began creating quick thumbnails for possible touchpoint designs using the brand system I created earlier.
Digital Touchpoints
The digital experience is going to be the first thing the users are going to encounter and therefore needs to introduce the concept and create a compelling value proposition to entice users to attend.
Mindscape Website
An online platform that provides information and persuades users into attending is what makes the conference compelling. Giving users information through this media allows them to assess it's value in providing the information that they seek about today and tomorrow's tech and industry.
Conference Companion App
Keeping in Mindscape's focus on the tech world, users can navigate the conference and gather information about the schedule, events, and booths using the app.
Physical Touchpoints
With this centering around an in-person conference, it's important that the physical touchpoints create a unified experience that ties back to the concept.
Large-Format Poster
This touchpoint serves as a standalone representation of the conference. It uses a lot of themes and elements from the concept, and is a compelling visual tool to both excite, inform, and extend the conference's experience.
Because this was a double-sided fold-out poster with rotated portions of one side, I used physical prototypes to accurately arrange information in my design file.
Includes conference details such as the schedule, speakers, location and time, and other crucial details. Visually pleasing imagery ties back to the visual identity of the conference and uses the branded language to emphasize the concept.
Event Badges
Event badges serve as a way to create connection between users in a way that ties back to the visual concept of the Mindscape conference. Using color-coded badges, attendees can easily be differentiated from speakers.
By providing users with physical merchandise, we are able to extend the conference's experience and create a long lasting impact, which makes the concept all the more compelling.
Masks come in any color from the color strategy, and use the same design to connect to the visual strategy. Having branded masks available during a pandemic reinforces the theme of mindfulness.
Pins serve as a take-home extension of the event's concept. Like scouts earn badges for exploring the wilderness, attendees receive badges for exploring the various events and topics at the conference.
The Environment
The in-person experience is incredibly important for an in-person conference. Every part of the visual environment should embody the concept of mindful exploration.
As part of the main appeal of the event, having compelling interstitials and reinforce values and themes make every moment of the experience true to the concept.
Interstitials deliver key information about the speakers to attendees to properly prepare them for the event.
Event Booths
While each booth is an experience unique to that booth's owner, I still want to make sure they align with the visual concept of the conference by providing simple amenities for each booth to use.
The varying banner styles allow the users running booths to get banners that connect them to parts of the conference's theme.
Next Steps
Future Events
While this project covers one themed conference, I would like to see what another conference hosted by the same minds who created this conference would look like. What would be the new theme? How would it tie into the previous conference? What would carry over?
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