Trollback + Company, an award-winning creative agency specializing in branding and motion graphics, has designed and produced the opening sequence for this year's TED conference, taking place between February 3 and 7 in Long Beach, CA. This marks the fourteenth collaboration between Trollback's founder Jakob Trollback and the annual "Technology, Entertainment, Design" conference, whose diverse and always prominent list of speakers this year includes Bill Gates, Oliver Sacks, statistician Nate Silver and singer/songwriter Regina Spektor, among others.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, TED2009's theme is The Great Unveiling, so called for the fact that each speaker this year will be premiering something new and fresh. Trollback + Company created a branding package-comprised of an opening sequence and speaker slates-that plays off the idea of unveiling while conveying each of the conference's 12 different themes with a symbolic movement particular to each.
"For the anniversary it was great to make a piece that, although modern, paid tribute to the traditional typographic TED titles of the past," said Jakob Trollback, who spoke at TED in 2007. "This time the floating typography exists in a meta-universe, where the type of the sessions perform a little thematic choreography, whereafter they converge to form the main conference credo: The Great Unveiling. As a little visual bonus, the large letters that the ribbons of type form are in fact three-dimensional structures that have a different read from different angles. It is, after all, that kind of semi-geeky fun that keeps us all coming back."
The opening sequence begins when the word "reboot" materializes. The letters flicker to the sound of a computer (re)starting. "Reboot" changes into "Discover," which replicates, over and over, to form a ribbon-like stream of words that traverse through space. From there, it entwines with a similarly shooting string of words-here, "Engage"-like the two strands of a double helix. Each word, or theme, has its own micro-reveal alluding to the meaning of that word. The movements are mapped out by the thrust of the words. So, "Grow" divides into a bouquet of multiplicity; "Invent" traces new, complex forms; "Dream" hurtles towards the viewer, leading to a bright, white void. The culmination comes when the camera pulls back, to show the final, grand unveiling.
"I'm always thrilled to work with the TED conferences," said Trollback. "It's one of the world's most exciting gatherings, and my goal is always to present an inspiring opening, that will set the stage with beauty and intelligence. And as always, the phenomenal Michael Montes created the track that made the animation take off."