Catalyst 2015: “Awaken The Wonder”

Services: Branding, Art Direction, Promotions, Print Design, Packaging

Catalyst Conference 2015 event theme branding, logo design, and visual identity for Awaken the Wonder was created by freelance graphic designer and art director Russell Shaw.

About the Theme: Following the 2014 organizational rebrand (and, appropriately-themed conference celebrating and discussing “change”), the 2015 Catalyst Conference in Atlanta focused on the next attribute identified in a Catalyst leader: creativity. A leadership conference dedicating several days of teaching and conversation on topics of innovation and vision-casting, the event invited leaders to recapture their sense of childlike wonder with the way they see the world and their work.

About the Design: The artwork style exploits the idea of creativity and wonder by treating Catalyst’s new visual brand assets with an artistic, textural application – real, handmade brush strokes and printed textures as backgrounds and reveals for photography and copy. The theme signature was designed to carry a sense of mystery – letterform designs that feel almost cryptic, and wide tracking that carries an air of whimsy.

The branding and art assets were first teased out in a creative mailing campaign sent to identified influencers. Rather than one large box of collateral coming all at once, we sent a series mailer in three progressive installments – creating anticipation as boxes arrive (1 of 3; 2 of 3…) and grow in size each time, and demonstrating the idea of the theme itself in the way that it was revealed: slowly and curiously, creating a sense of wonder as each box gives away more about the event.

The branding and art files were then packaged up in an asset library for Catalyst’s internal designer to carry into social and web graphics, event collateral such as signage, lanyards and notebooks, and will continue in use as the event holds the theme in other cities in 2016.


Box 01

Save-The-Date, featuring theme artwork and teaser copy, printed on pearl card stock.

Progressive boxes, one of three, reveal teasers to the event theme to group leaders as part of a direct mail campaign and influencer kit.
The first box contained a pearl paper postcard with theme artwork showcasing hand painted brush stroke versions of the logo teasing the upcoming theme.
It's time to awaken the wonder, atlanta 2015, catalyst conference promotional postcard teaser reveal of the event theme with brushstroke textured rendering of the brand logo.
detail of box belly band
detail of box bellyband, back

Box 02

Vintage-style alarm clock, custom-manufactured with branding on clock face. Square card featuring more copywriting suggesting the meaning of the theme. Together, they tease the event further and encourage anticipation leading up to the reveal in the third and final box.

"Wonder" Photographer: Morgan Blake

Box two of three in the progressive direct mail campaign to influencers and group leaders contained a custom alarm clock and a small card about Wonder, further revealing the conference theme in preparation.
catalyst atlanta 2015 box two of three bellyband
box two bellyband, back design
Custom printed vintage alarm clock for Catalyst Conference 2015 Atlanta Awaken the Wonder event theme promotion in a box surrounded by kraft krinkle paper

Box 03

The third and final box contained: custom minibook (thick, uncoated linen over with French flaps) that unfolds the event's theme like a story, with extra photo spreads and informational pages about the experience and value, keynote and lab speakers, and rates and sign-up information; and, a set of six postcards, each one featuring a unique design – the front showcasing a different scene of wonder, and the back containing custom designs and copy pieces unfolding the year's branding and messaging.

Licenses for stock photography on postcards acquired via Stocksy.

Box three was the largest of the set and contained small booklets that detail the theme as well as promotional postcards designed to give more information about the conference and be able to be given out to groups.
peace up, a-town down stamp
drumroll please bellyband design
Awaken the Wonder editorial layout design for miniature book shows a single brushstroke with a gradient fill down the front cover on white with the logo in the texture.
Editorial and layout design for custom minibook spread revealing the theme of the conference in Atlanta, Awaken the Wonder.
Editorial minibook spread graphic design shows a grid of photos from past conferences highlighting the event experience.
A paintbrush textured version of the Catalyst chevron icon fills the page, with a photo inside the brushstroke, and awaken the wonder copy on top of this editorial design for the booklet of promotional marketing materials.
Editorial full spread quote design, "Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous" overlays a gradient mapped photo from a past conference.
Catalyst promotional postcards for Awaken the Wonder feature a "Wonderful" typographic lockup in a square over beautiful photography of different landscapes deserts mountains and oceans.
Peace Up, A-Town Down stamp and seal icon design promoting the conference in Atlanta.
Beautiful forest scene and landscape photography with "Wonderful" icon stamp over the image for the Catalyst promotional postcard.
We are hardwired for wonder postcard graphic design for Catalyst Conference Awaken the Wonder branding.
Promotional marketing postcard graphic design for Catalyst Conference Atlanta 2015 event theme Awaken the Wonder, part of the branding and visual identity work, reads Bridge the gap between what is and what could be, with a beautiful landscape photograph of an ocean wave.


Featured Project in the Pantone Canvas Gallery


Client: Catalyst Conference

Executive Director: Tyler Reagin

Marketing Director: Lindsay van Zyl

Copywriters: Jason Haynes, Tim Willard

Art Director, Illustrator: Russell Shaw

Designers: Russell Shaw, Garrison Smith

Marketing Team: Aubrey Byers

Production Partner: Reflex Blu