13 Mar 2015

All posts from 13 Mar 2015

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SXSW Interactive 2015 Preview: A Killer Guide to SXSW

How did a local Seattle agency become the designer of choice for South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive’s program infographics?

Today, an estimated 70,000 attendees will descend on Austin to kick off SXSW. Hunger and boredom are not options. Looking for food? There are taco meet ups and a crash course on barbecues. Recreation? There’s a SXsports golf challenge and a monster gaming expo. But the main draws, of course, are the film, interactive and music events, which include:

  • Film: 400+ film screenings
  • Interactive: 800+ conference sessions
  • Music: 2,200 official performers and bands playing in more than 100 venues

Navigating the SXSW Interactive Labyrinth

If you’ve never been to SXSW Interactive, it’s good to know and prepare up front for five non-stop days of parties, panels, pitch events and a plethora of exhibits. Given the multitude of things to do, effective planning and efficient navigation are musts. Trying to see and do too many things can quickly lead to exhaustion.

So how does one navigate the labyrinth of SXSW Interactive events? This year, there’s the Survival Guide, a multi-page program with a dozen infographics created by Seattle’s own visual communications agency, Killer Infographics. Given that the Survival Guide is designed for an interactive conference, an online as well as physical version will be available for attendees.

Where do most SXSW attendees stay?

Turns out that almost 60 percent of SXSW attendees stay in hotels (Image: Killer Infographics)

Creating the SXSW Interactive Survival Guide

“SXSW has always provided a map [of the event], but it is often something that people do not leverage as much as they could. Plus, it’s often just thrown away,” says Nick Grant, co-founder of Killer Infographics. “The audience at SXSW is very visual, and they don’t want a reading assignment.”

The team at Killer Infographics decided to create a survival guide on the back of the program map. “We designed it as a 16” x 20” folding poster that goes right into the SXSW Interactive program that all attendees receive at registration,” Grant said.

Killer Infographic’s art director, Alaina Johnson, and her project team wanted the poster to be something attendees could pull out of the program and put up in their offices once they returned home from the event.

Barely five years old, the Seattle-based agency is already an industry leader in interactive infographics, multimedia campaigns, and static and motion graphics. Grant and co-founder Amy Balliett are often invited to speak at tech and design conferences. After a presentation at AdobeMAX last year, SXSW organizers approached them with the job to design the graphics for SXSW 2015 Interactive program. Killer Infographics said yes and got to work organizing vast quantities of data into a simple, visual package.

What to carry with you at SXSW

Know before you go: Don’t forget to carry your umbrella and rain jacket with you at SXSW, for that unpredictable Austin weather (Image: Killer Infographics)

“We designed some mini visual communication pieces throughout the program,” Grant said, such as a guide to local Austin sites to visit during breaks and an infographic of what to carry with you at SXSW. The infographic suggests that festival goers carry their reusable water bottles, umbrellas and rain jackets for unpredictable weather. Seems like this year’s program guide will help SXSWers survive just about anything.

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SXSW Interactive 2015 Preview: A Killer Guide to SXSW