By Sarah Ahmad, The Floating Designer
In 2017, I had the privilege of working with the amazing TEDxGlasgow team as a stage designer. This year, I returned, not as part of the stage design team, but as an illustrator for the conference. The event itself was spectacular this year, with 20 speakers from different walks of life sharing their stories and interpretations of the ‘Rethink…’ theme. It was a memorable experience for me, finally being in the audience as opposed to ensuring the stage and installations weren’t falling apart (haha).
I consumed about five cups of coffees so that I could listen to every single speaker without feeling sluggish and sleepy by the afternoon – safe to say that my strategy worked. After plenty of sketches, note-taking and as the event came to a close, I hurried home to sketch out the overall illustration of TEDxGlasgow 2018.
Iain and I agreed on using the “Where’s Waldo?” series as inspiration for the large A2 illustration. The brief was that I should capture all speakers and the general energy, activity and vibrance of the whole conference – a pretty hefty challenge on my part but I embraced it head on and came up with something worthy of gifting the 20 speakers!
In this clean and simple illustration which exhibits only the 3 main colours of the event, you’ll find a crowd of diverse TEDxGlasgow patrons and volunteers, and amongst them are the 20 speakers sharing quotes that I pulled out from their inspirational talks. The illustration really centres around them and their unique topics and stories. Of course, not forgetting the two hosts of the event, Jason and Clare, and the 5 core members of the TEDxGlasgow team, Gurjit, Pauline, Cat, Iain and Joanne, making a lovely appearance on, behind and in front of the stage.
I truly hope that this illustration captured the essence of the day and that the speakers love it as a souvenir from such a memorable experience. It was a pleasure to have drawn up the event! I had as much fun illustrating it as I did listening to and taking notes of all the talks during TEDxGlasgow itself. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity and looking forward to more future TEDxGlasgow talks to come!