Our fearless founder Dava Guthmiller, and her longtime friend Arianna Orland, co-founded In/Visible Talks to build community and foster conversation about the art of design. The inaugural conference, held in January of 2018, was the cornerstone event of the year, and every part of it was designed to connect and inspire people in pursuit of that mission.
How we created the look and feel of the conference could merit its own In/Visible talk. It was a collaborative effort, and as the target audience (creative thinkers and makers), we spent a fair amount of time discussing the creative process itself as we brought the conference to life. To share the fruits of our labor with the San Francisco design community and witness the connections and inspiration happen in real time was a true honor.
How could we visually represent the idea of making the invisible, visible without becoming too abstract? For the logo, we explored ways to create space and meaning between In and Visible, landing on a strong diagonal slash that makes it easy to see both the Visible and the Invisible. It became a key graphic and unifying element for the brand, and can be seen (or not seen) throughout the collateral and signage.
The idea of the slash, and making the invisible visible, came to life when Dava + Arianna decided to play with dipping objects in paint. They had fun with the colors, materials, textures and dipped all kinds of things: a clock, slinky, chili pepper, paddle, and whisk. The wind-up mouth, which ties into the conversations, quickly revealed itself as one of their favorite objects. This playful experience – free from restrictions and expectations – inspired our lively and bright color palette. The vibrant, primary colors we chose could all be seen from afar and close up, all with a touch of the signature Noise 13 yellow.
Everything we did was deliberately touched by multiple designers who added, adjusted, and built upon each other’s work until we had a strong system. Each piece we created had intent that went beyond the vector art; the materials and production techniques elevated otherwise simple design elements.
The most exciting part of the production process was the enthusiasm of our partners to collaborate on ideas that would otherwise have been out of our budget. Scout Books printed beautiful notebooks that also served as the program for the event. Ape Do Good screen printed a neighborhood map we designed (highlighting spots for food and inspiration) onto beautiful, bright yellow paper donated by Neenah Paper. Our signage partner, Commerce Printing, crafted an exterior magnetic sign that made it look as though we had dipped the corner of the building in yellow paint. Lumi donated custom rubber stamps that we used to put a hand-finished touch on the badges.
Because In/Visible Talks is a conference for creative people across all industries and mediums, we wanted the materials to feel representative of the process at its most basic level. This led us to explore a more raw, unfinished look using materials like cardboard and kraft paper, which also served to reduce our eco-footprint. A touch of clear acrylic here and there referenced the “invisible” aspect of the concept and made the “dipped” tabletop signs and table numbers reusable.
—Kathleen Guthrie Woods, In/Visible Talks Copywriter
What a privilege it has been to be part of your inaugural conference. I was absolutely blown away by the production (impressive at every turn), inspired by the speakers, and moved to see 300+ people walk through the doors radiating happiness and anticipation—and leaving looking happy and inspired. Wow. Just wow.
As designers, what we do is an art both, playful and serious, hidden and out there. We hoped that all the little touches would remind people of the process and act of creating, long after the 2018 conference came to an end, just like the talks themselves would resonate well beyond the day.
We were thrilled that we ended up with so many different ways for participants to dip in and out of the In/Visible art and design process with us… we’re already talking to the community about how to make 2019 even more inspiring and just as fun.