TEDx Sydney 2019 Titles


After continuous year-on-year growth, TEDx are celebrating 10 years in Sydney. They’re now the largest TEDx in the southern hemisphere, and one of the largest in the world. Building on our successful relationship, we were again tasked with creating an opening animation for the anniversary event with 2019's theme of "Legacy".

With this remit and TED’s belief in “the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world”, we wanted to inspire, but also touch on serious issues, celebrating past achievements and simultaneously cautioning future restraint.

How do we create an opener that is suitably epic? How can we use this opportunity as a catalyst for thought and opportunity for action?

Noah’s allegorical legacy was the preservation of the earth’s wildlife, otherwise lost to the flood. Mirroring this, the Svalbard vault protects the world’s gene banks by housing up to 2.5 billion seeds in its depths. We store the knowledge of humankind in libraries, we conserve our art in museums and galleries. We hoard the genes of plants and seeds, and record and reproduce every aspect of our world digitally.

But these pursuits leave an imprint, and progress has the potential for unintended consequences. As our environment turns against us and the need to safeguard humanity grows, the dual nature of our legacy is highlighted. We have gained, but we have also lost, and may still lose more.

It is this contrast we wished to explore: a celebration of what we have, and a reminder of its fragility.

As a natural extension to archives like the the Louvre and the Svalbard vault, we chose to represent the legacy of humankind through the creation of the ultimate Ark: the orbital space vessel ISS Legacy X. A repository of everything most valuable to us, the ISS Legacy is designed as an untouchable safeguard. A collection that preserves and juxtaposes humankind’s achievements and the diversity of the natural world, and asks us to confront the complex relationship between the two. 

The design process for the titles was partly curatorial (what to show) and partly a challenge of communicating the scale of collection without needing to literally show everything, in order to keep the project contained to a reasonable scope.

The environments were designed to present art and science with the same care. Part storage facility, part gallery. Specimens and objects are packed together tightly, but displayed beautifully. Architecture is classic, a little futuristic, sometimes utilitarian, and the effect overall is one of functional and industrial elegance. We drew inspiration from the design of real galleries, luxury shop displays, trade show pavilions, high-tech libraries, and of course some near-future science fiction.


As part of the event graphics package, Substance also provided 9k-wide (equivalent of 5xHD) animated loops for slide backgrounds for speakers and sessions, as well as high-res stills for the event programme. 


Special Thanks: Remo Giuffré & Renee Gangemi @ TEDx Sydney

TEDx Sydney 2019 Titles