Academic Conference Visual Branding and Programme Design, 2019
The London Science Fiction Research Community's theme for 2019 was 'Productive Futures: The Political Economy of Science Fiction'. The year's reading list, reading group and events programme discussed how SF can offer rich alternatives to the traditional understanding of everyday economic life and what defines it.
Continuing with the visual identity established in the Call for Papers Conference Poster I wanted the programme to retain the look and feel of public information literature, with the graphics adding a playful element. As the programme contained important scheduling information and abstracts of all the papers being given, having a more fleshed out conceit such as the one used in the call for papers would draw too much attention away from the necessary content.
The solution was to create a suite of graphics in the form of icons and borders that were derivative of formal corporate visuals but purposefully more irreverent. To make this identity more comprehensive, I created a temporary logo for the LSFRC that aligned with the design's visual sensibilities, taking inspiration from astronaut patches, and carried the treatment through to the delegate name badges, each one featuring one of the icons from the set created for the programme.
It ended up being an interactive exercise with delegates grouping themselves with others whose icons matched theirs, and speculating on their relation to the other icon sets. When I later released an index assigning an occupation to each of the icons, a further layer of meaning and interaction with the conference theme emerged, prompting more discussion and even swapping of badges and requesting different occupations. This level of engagement and curiosity was very fulfilling, and demonstrated to me that visual handling could provide a more immersive experience.
THE LONDON SCIENCE FICTION RESEARCH COMMUNITY is an organisation of SF scholars, based at Birkbeck University and Royal Holloway.
The Community presents special events with guest speakers several times a year, and also hosts a monthly reading group at 43 Gordon Square, London, on Monday evenings, open to all. Each year the reading group engages with texts organised around a central theme.
I was Head of Design at the LSFRC from 2017 - 2020.
Conference Name Badges
Full set of designs for the conference name badges. The definitions for each of the icons was a later addition after the delegates had had an opportunity to discuss what the visuals could translate to.