Designing for TEDxBrum 2016

Our colourful 2016 branding was designed by Helen Page, this year's creative head and designer. By day, Helen can be found bringing brands to life over at Birmingham-based brand agency Orb, and it was her job to sculpt the TEDxBrum brand and interpret this year's theme - the #PowerOfUs.

Taking inspiration from bold and brash identities, Helen created a 3D isometric ‘US’ which could be displayed both vertically and horizontally to make it as adaptable as possible. Mustard, satsuma and lime were key background colours, with TED red on yellow being the key combination that quickly became synonymous with the event and helped convey bags of personality; a nod to classic TED with a creative and contemporary twist. Dots, lines, and scratch patterns were also incorporated, creating fun and versatile fillers to the wire frame letters and other graphic elements.

Helen tells us: "Shapes were also a key theme in the moodboards and are a great way to frame written content and showcase images. Three shapes have been introduced; a triangle, a hexagon and a square to create these clusters each using colours and patterns across the whole palette to tie the identity together. This year, the idea of playful illustrations of the line-up was also brought in to keep the TEDxBrum style very unique to the event and to help bring a crafted element to the visual style, breaking up the dramatic sharp edges and patterns." 

Each speaker and performer from this year's line-up was hand drawn by local illustrator Louise Byng using pencil, and the resulting images were used on the TEDxBrum website, across social media and in our printed programme, as well as signed prints of the artwork being presented as part of 'thank you' gift bags to our speakers and performers."It felt really special to be able to create that level of detail, with a lot of recipients sharing how much this and other little touches curated by the team had added to their wider experience of being part of the event", says Byng.

Social media was key to building up the energy around the event, with the line-up being revealed gradually in the weeks leading up to the day itself via twitter and facebook. The written content in these announcements graphics was minimal allowing for the accompanying social media text to flesh out the details, keeping the social media posts simple, shareable and more memorable.

Byng adds: Working with Helen's vibrant colour scheme and incorporating textures into the drawings digitally was a new challenge for me, and I think the combination of hand-rendered marks and digital vectors is what sets these illustrations apart, bringing an entirely new dimension to my work. The announcements were fast-paced and required consistent teamwork between myself and Helen to bring the different elements together and keep things super high quality despite the quick turnaround. The outcome is absolutely a testament to the #PowerOfUs itself, as neither of us could have produced these outcomes by working in silo.

Connect with Helen & Byng on twitter:
@HelenCPage | @ByngSquirrel

The Creative #PowerOfUs - Part 3

Last month we asked creatives to submit pieces inspired by this years TEDxBrum theme - the #PowerOfUs. Here are our final selection of entries by some of Birmingham's creative talent.

Below: Convivencia. Pencil and watercolour on paper.


'Convivencia' is the Spanish term for co-existence, and is the name given to the period of rule in Spain in the early eighth century under governance of the Umayyad Muslims, up until the forced expulsion of the Muslims and Jews in 1492. Like the lines in the painting, things weren't perfect, but it has been widely claimed that the Christians, Muslims and Jews lived and prospered together in Andalucia, southern Spain. Great advances were made in music, literature, the sciences, architecture and cross cultural education. The pattern drawn is from the Alhambra in Granada. 

Although it's a complicated pattern with many steps, the progression shows how the intersections of lines and circles can build something worthwhile. That with the principles of harmony, symmetry and balance, things may go wrong, and they may not always be accurate, but we could end up with something quite beautiful.

by Shaheen Kasmani

We love Shaheen's work, check her out at: 

This interconnected #PowerOfUs piece is by Sabah Nazir. Connect with her on twitter at @_sabah_nazir & @FutureEngineer_

A HUGE thank you to all the amazing creatives who took time to submi to the brief, we've loved sharing your interpretations.

Stay creative Birmingham,
TEDxBrum Team

The Creative #PowerOfUs - Part 2

Last month we asked creatives to submit pieces inspired by this years TEDxBrum theme - the #PowerOfUs. Here are some more of the responses from Birmingham-based artists Pete Ashton and Sarah Radulovich.

This piece was sent to us by Pete Ashton @peteashton, fellow at Birmingham Open Media and creator of Bham Camera Obscura. Find out more about his work here.

These photos were taken in Birmingham with a vintage Flexaret camera by Sarah Radulovich. Check out more from her on her blog.

A huge to the artists featured in this post, and everyone else who submitted something based on the #PowerOfUs. We look forward to sharing more creative responses soon!


Longing for TEDxBrum

Illustrations by this year's TEDxBrum illustrator Louise Byng

Illustrations by this year's TEDxBrum illustrator Louise Byng

Dear Deidre,
I feel a bit silly writing this, but I’m really struggling at the mo’  - got a lot of emotions whirling around my head and heart. I thought I was over this, as it happened about 18 months ago, but I'm not. I'm still not over TED, my ex, or TEDx as I call him.

The last time we got involved was in November 2014 in Brum. We had a blast. Honestly, it was amazing - we were good for each other. What I loved about TEDx is the way he'd put across the simplest things in such a powerful way, and always had ideas worth sharing. He was inspirational and had a real thirst for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and his passion expanded my mind and allowed me to grow as a person.
I know what you're thinking, it was 18 months ago, and it won't be the same this time. But I think it will, in fact, I think it’ll be even better! It's all about the Power of Us, right? 

Friends ask me why I want to get involved again, but it’s hard to explain. I lead a good life, full of variety laughter family and joy, yet, I feel down and have been for the past 18 months. I feel like I need my fix. I need TEDxBrum!

I really miss what we had, which is why I need some advice,  as he coming back to Brum this week(!) It always felt like a real event and I can't lie, I really want to get involved again.
Yours sincerely,
A longing TEDxBrum love

by Karen Blanchette
TEDxBrum Champion

Sorry we were gone so long. Don't miss out - get your next TEDxBrum fix here.

Why the History of the Universe Matters to the Power Of Us Now

In his TED talk 'The history of our world in 18 minutes', David Christian takes us on a fantastic journey through history and time – from the moment of the Big Bang right up until now. The periods of time he covers mean almost nothing to us as humans - whose sense of time only spans our own lifetimes - but if you can wrap your head around it, here’s a brief break down of the important numbers in the history of the universe:

  • The universe is 13 billion years old

  • Dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago

  • Humans are 200,000 years old

  • Birmingham is around 1,500 years old

  • The internet as we know it is only 25 years old

David highlights the vast changes humans have made to our own cultures and to the physical environment around us in the relatively short time we’ve been keepers of the planet. This is all down to collective learning; to the combined power of us as a group of intelligent beings with languages, cultures, and history. We’re a powerful bunch, but – superhero cliche inbound – with great power comes great responsibility. David uses the vast expanse of the universe to highlight the complexity, fragility, and dangers of the future. More often than not, the dangers are our own doing (think global warming, wars, and poverty), but David also uses history to show the power of us through collective learning, and the opportunities for humans to develop positively in the future.

The power of us can be used as for a force for good; for the advancement of all sorts of amazing things. Nowhere is this more evident than in the rapid changes of the past 25 years in how we work, communicate, and live our lives. It’s easily comparable to the first moments of the universe, when space and time expanded ridiculously fast. 

Birmingham has undergone some big changes in the last 25 year - some good and some not so good. - but it can definitely be said that the last five years have been some of Birmingham’s best, with innovation and creativity booming. The city is also one of a small number of smart cities in the UK – an exciting prospect that gives us Birmingham residents the ability to contribute to and shape the city like never before. Issues of unemployment, health and wellbeing, and reducing carbon emissions are just some of the things moving from the domain of government and institutions into the hands of us. With a heritage such as Birmingham’s, home of the industrial revolution and an eclectic mix of cultures and ethnicities, and as one of the youngest cities in Europe, this is no surprise.

And, whilst economically it seems that the younger generations have it tough, in terms of feeling connected to one another they seem to understand the power of us more than any other generation. When you’ve grown up with access to all the information you could possibly dream of (and more), and the ability to talk with people on the other side of the world through the internet, it comes as no surprise that the younger generation is more aware of the power of us and able to tap into that power. And it’s this that David draws attention to in his talk. As an ‘us’, we are powerful.

Collective learning is the power of us, and new technologies evolving from the internet age have expanded our range of knowledge and deepened our capacity for collective learning. They have propelled the power of us outwards, and given us the means to harness this energy more effectively in the future. This enables us to rise to the challenges lying before us all: to streamline, combine, and hold to account the powers that have always dictated to us – governments, big businesses and more.

Building on the history of our universe and the human race, and enabled by new technologies, the people of Birmingham can use the power of us to shape a more global, more connected, more shared city than ever before, and  TEDxBrum is one of the platforms bringing us together in order to celebrate and build that power of us.

by Kieran Kilbride-Singh
TEDxBrum Champion