Fastly approached me in 2017 to help them create the design experience for their Altitude conference series, their large annual conference that happens in London, New York, and San Francisco. Altitude is an incredibly important part of the Fastly brand, allowing them to connect with their users and developers, hear from the top engineers in the industry on edge computing, cloud networking, and security, and share the latest developments in their own software.

While I had done production work and branded conferences before, Altitude was unique in both of these not only from its complexity (happening across three different cities globally) but also its scale. Save a little help from my favorite contractors in production work near the end, the design for all of the swag, websites, signage, speaker templates, and anything else that needed to be done was done by me.

In the end we produced:

3Conferences3Presentation templates for speakers
3Brand systems3Keynotes for day-of information
4Website designs*142Pieces of signage
6Pieces of custom swag1Custom animation
Photo from @clive_agency of the London event. I provided the wall graphics and the decals for directional signage.

One of the challenging aspects of this project for me was producing large-scale signage. Much of the artwork I produced was to be vinyl die-cut, and the size of a large wall (such as here), or on huge windows facing the street, and required interpreting spec sheets from the venues or 3rd party contractors. Pixel-perfect was a must, as was developing proper annotations for the printer on each piece of artwork that was produced.

Screenshot of the stairs from the official Vimeo recap.
Photo from @kimmi8 of the real-time screen at the NYC event.

A number of these pieces were interesting to produce. Some notable pieces produced for various locations included decals on the stairs that showed the history of the HTTP protocol that you could read as you walked up them, some animations and graphics for a real-time video feed that displayed out to the street in New York, and backdrops for Q&As and stages at each of the locations.

Photos from the official Fastly Facebook of the London event’s Q&A and main stages.

I produced custom-created maps for each city, painstakingly created by tracing Google Map tiles—New York, London, and San Francisco. We used these to show the venue, hotel, and after party locations, but mostly they were for fun. Since I was new to New York at the time I ended up using the NY map as a background for my computer for a time.

San Francisco
New York

The client had really liked the way we’d hidden small elements of their brand in plain sight for the CIP Conference, so when creating assets for their Altitude series I did the same. Keeping with Altitude’s theme I created a circuitry pattern, sprinkled with Fastly speedometers, server racks, and their company mascot.

Each event needed a website, of course. This was the designed site for the San Francisco event.

While I’ve done production jobs before (preparing artwork in lots of variations and sizes to send to printers), this was by far the largest I’d ever done solo. Here’s a glimpse into what that work looked like:

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