Inspiration for the TEDxEvansville design

You’d think designing for a TEDx event would be fairly simple: Just stick to a red, white and black color palette and use Helvetica typeface. While those elements are certainly core to the design of any TEDx event, the TEDxEvansville communications committee, with help from the Evansville Design Group, a nonprofit organization comprised of local design professionals, faced these unique opportunities in the design process for TEDxEvansville.

  1. Make it unique. This is a universal challenge to anyone building upon a successful brand. How do you honor the original concept, while bringing something new and interesting into the fold?
  2. Build awareness. While people acquainted with TED have demonstrated universal excitement about the experience coming to Evansville, a large part of our community was unfamiliar with TED. We considered: What’s the best approach to introduce a concept that’s familiar to some, but completely unknown to many?
  3. Inspire through design. TED is centered around ideas worth spreading. We wanted our designs to excite the community and encourage enthusiasm around our community’s inspiring ideas.

Initial Brainstorming

Evansville is undoubtedly in the midst of a renaissance, so that became a perfect theme for the first TEDxEvansville. In our initial brainstorming, we noted the principle words used alongside renaissance – rebirth, revival, and renewal – all begin with “re.” In fact, we found more than 100 words beginning with “re” that all represent positive sentiments. Another interesting idea is that “re:” is automatically prepended to the subject line of all email replies and is intrinsically attached to continuing a conversation in the most prevalent communication method used today. That was the genesis of “re:naissance.”

Focusing on Awareness

We discovered TED and TED Talks are not widely known in this area. So while expressing the theme of the event was certainly top-of-mind, our primary task became to promote “TEDxEvansville” as a concept without any other complications. That meant keeping our message simple and distilling the promotional materials down to the name, date, location and website. That also meant holding back on the “re:naissance” theme until closer to the event to minimize confusion.

Finding a Key Visual

With our beautiful venue, the Evansville Museum, in mind, we narrowed key visual selection down to two interesting shapes found in the Eykamp Pavilion – the golden rectangle and an elongated diamond. The former is used throughout the space on tile flooring, windows and exterior panels, and the latter has a repeating pattern wrapping the Koch Immersive Theater.

We quickly settled on the diamond shape for a couple reasons: 1) The Immersive Theater is host to the TEDxEvansville stage, and 2) A diamond is defined by the negative space around an “X,” a visual play too perfect to ignore.

Building a Design Language

With the key visual determined, we began defining the building blocks of our design language. In addition to the standard base of red/black/white, Helvetica and the TEDxEvansville logo, we introduced a repeating diamond pattern mimicking the Immersive Theater’s pattern. The tiling of the diamonds serve as a perfect boundary to separate visual elements and introduce implied Xs into the design.

These components serve as the basis for all TEDxEvansville promotional materials. The “re:naissance” element is critical to event materials, such as tickets, signage, badges, shirts, posters, etc.

The Result

Now, the fun part – sharing what we’ve been working on and getting it into the community. The remaining pieces will be rolling out over the next couple weeks leading up to the event. In fact, several elements are public already, including the website, our social media accounts, tickets, billboards, a promotional poster and a promotional flier.

If you’d like to promote TEDxEvansville around your business, organization or other public spaces, please download, print and distribute copies of the poster and flier, which are available as PDF files below. The flier is standard 8.5“x11” letter size and the poster is sized to an 11“x17” tabloid sheet, both formatted with margins for any standard home or office printer.

All of us behind the scenes are incredibly excited about TEDxEvansville and we can’t wait to share and participate in this experience with our community.

TEDxEvansville Helps Us Consider the Possibility of Change

“The only constant in the world is change.” It’s a quote I’ve heard before and one that has caught my attention again recently. I think it exemplifies my views on TED.

TED is a push to show changes that are possible to make ours a better world. Sometimes TED provides a look back to show us how we came together as a people to accomplish great things. Sometimes TED helps us look inward to see changes we can make in ourselves. And, sometimes TED brings attention to the changes that are molding our future through science and technology.

TEDxEvansville is all about the possibility of change. But it is only that, the possibility. Possibility only becomes reality through the efforts of likeminded individuals who are willing to push forward into that change – into that unknown – because they believe that the pain of change is well worth the bliss of the future world it creates.

Change happens whether we want it to or not. Either we adapt to our new world or we let our world pass us by.

Evansville has proven it can change with new ideas: Having the first municipally owned baseball field still standing 100 years later in Bosse Field, or a joint multi-institutional medical facility that is going to reshape medical education. These changes create long-lasting impacts on the lives in our community.

My hope is that TEDxEvansville is the catalyst that brings these ideas of change into action in our community. So instead of letting the world change around us, we become a beacon of positive change that others can look to.

Immediately, I Was in Awe

TEDxEvansville Executive Committee member Jenn Schultheis shares one of her favorite TED Talks.

While I can name a handful of favorite TED talks, one I find personally inspiring is Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude, which was filmed at TEDxSF in June 2011. I watched it for the first time in late December that year. Immediately, I was in awe; the way he weaves vibrant images along with simple narration spoke so deeply to me that I knew I needed to share the talk.

The next day, while having family over to celebrate the holidays, I showed it to a group of relatives ranging in age from 7 to 80. Having seen the talk many times in the previous 24 hours, I surreptitiously watched the reactions on my family members’ faces. As I looked around at them, it was apparent that they were, if not enjoying it, at least getting something out of it. And, I thought to myself: This is exactly what a good TED talk does… It allows each viewer to come away with a unique interpretation, a personal meaning… an idea, which is similarly expressed in Mr. Schwartzberg’s talk:

“Look at the faces of people whom you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom. Not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors. We all go back so far, and in this present moment, on this day, all the people you meet, all that life from generations and from so many places all over the world flows together and meets you here like a life- giving water. If you only open your heart and drink.”Quote from an elderly man in the video

It’s no coincidence that I’m involved with the TEDxEvansville curatorial team. My list of “talks to watch” on contains 65 talks. Like so many, I often share them with family and friends.

Here are two of those:

“…I will live every day as if there were a microphone tucked under my tongue, a stage on the underside of my inhibition. Because who has to have a soapbox when all you’ve ever needed is your voice?”Clint Smith: The danger of silenceWatch Video

“There are two most powerful days in your life: the day you’re born, and the day you discover why.”Boniface Mwangi: The day I stood up aloneWatch Video

Zac Parsons on Evansville

Zac Parsons, TEDxEvansville licensee, shares why Evansville is ready for TEDx and how our community’s renaissance inspired the theme.

Big Ideas from a Small City

There’s a true sense of pride that I see in the phrase “the smallest city in the country to have a [fill in the blank].”

A peek through our history and around our city reveals things you don’t expect to see in a community of our size: a commitment to the arts and to promoting the performing and the visual arts, history covering both landing ships and baseball fields, and a thriving downtown with one of the most inviting places to open a business anywhere in the country. We have a zoo, multiple award-winning hospitals, schools that are among the best in the country, and a sense of community tying it all together in ways you can’t manufacture.

And now, we have ourselves a TEDx – a vessel for the best we have to come together as one to present new and inspiring ideas that will take us into the future.

This renaissance, this showcase of a new attitude and a new wave of doers and thinkers is a true throwback. Walking the streets of the historic district and admiring the architecture of Evansville past, you can’t help but believe that the man and women who shaped our civic spirit and pride were full of Ideas Worth Spreading.

Their dedication to making this city better, brick by brick, has led us to today: at a museum that on paper shouldn’t exist, a new generation of bold ideas will be shared that will help our city continue its incredible trend of coming together to build and share great things.

If you’re up for it, pull up a seat and sit with us as our “small city” shows us just how big its ideas can be.

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