First Peoples' Cultural Council & Foundation

Supporting Living Languages Conference – HELISET

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The First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation (FPCF) is a non-profit organization that generates support and funding for Aboriginal and First Nations artists, communities, cultural organizations, and educational organizations.

In June 2019, the FPCF and the First People’s Cultural Council hosted HELISET – Let the Languages Live, an international conference, held on the territories of the Lekwungen speaking Peoples, in Victoria, BC, focused on the revitalization of Indigenous languages.

The FPCF engaged Backyard Creative to produce the conference brand look and feel, as well as a wide variety of event materials. We worked with an original piece of artwork designed by TEMOSEN Charles Elliott, an Indigenous master carver and painter. We digitized a unique icon he created, and its colours and textures became our inspiration to extend into the brand applications.

Building the brand

We created a family of graphic assets and a graphic standards document to create consistency across all pre-event and conference digital and print materials. Since the event was focused on language, we looked for opportunities to integrate and highlight Indigenous languages wherever possible in the conference artwork. The brand included a collection of original icons to represent the various conference program streams, for easy visual recognition.

Choosing a Canadian-designed syllabics font called Huronia, allowed us to represent, as closely as possible, a wide variety of Indigenous languages, which was crucial for this event.

This project was highly collaborative, and we worked closely with client representatives from the FPCF and FPCC, as well as with the event producers. As part of our role, we provided quality assurance support by reviewing the artwork files for many event collateral items, like bags, mugs, pens and t-shirts, throughout the production process.

Conference materials

We designed a conference sponsorship package for sponsor recruitment activities, with an original set of icons to represent various sponsorship levels. We also created the event program, which included a detailed schedule for the three-day event. The schedule became a living document that we updated regularly for use on the conference website, leading up to the event.

Given the large event venue, the Victoria Conference Centre, the venue’s existing digital signage options, and the extensive event program, we produced a large and varied range of print signage on a compressed timeline. Signage included large exterior and interior banners reflecting conference branding as well as the programming streams, room and wayfinding signage.

We also conceptualized and designed large, modular signage that could be adapted to accommodate event programming changes, easy to process at a glance, and legible in high-traffic venue locations.

Event success

Our collaborative nature and ability to expand our team capacity as needed allowed us to scale up and provide a range of services for the HELISET event in a short amount of time.

The HELISET conference was a huge success, with over 1,000 attendees from over 20 countries. We are honoured to have been a part of creating the visual language that helped to bring the conference to life.

Original illustration: TEMOSEN Charles Elliott (client commissioned) // Creative Direction: Lisa Hemingway // Lead Designer: Sebastian Abboud // Design: Laura Timmermans // Project & Client Management: Madelen Ortega

HELISET Conference Website