With the election of a new administration in 2017, there was a clear opportunity to lead the charge in shaping the policies and leadership best suited for the digital future. With a new Executive Director and vision, the technology policy think tank TechFreedom decided to step up and spark a conversation. Through compelling event branding, substantive messaging, expert speakers and a diverse, engaged audience, the Glen Echo Group produced the Back to the Future of Policy Summit—TechFreedom’s first-ever policy conference and a highly-memorable, branded platform for the new administration and the new leadership, all while showcasing TechFreedom as the think tank that makes tech policy ‘cool.'
The event’s overarching objective was to help answer the question: “How should the laws of yesterday adapt to the technology of tomorrow?” We crafted a clear visual identity for the Summit built around seeing both the future and the past, analyzing any preconceived notions about the future of technology and reflecting on how (and through what lens) we are looking at the future.
To ensure that the event’s branding was both memorable and compelling, we employed a retro-theme in line with the event name and pulled heavily from 80’s style movie posters in our visuals. Our color scheme was based on the original 3D glasses (think paper frames with one blue and one red lens) with a faded, retro feel. The conference featured a number of individual gatherings throughout the week—a VIP party the evening prior (with a real DeLorean in tow), the day-long policy summit and a closing party—and each received its own unique, but aligned treatment of the brand. Beyond the traditional event signage and collateral, we designed custom illustrations to represent each of the four policy panels, displaying them throughout the event and offering them in laptop sticker form, and designed and implemented a standalone event website that closely aligned with the event’s branding and served as an information hub for attendees and speakers.
With standing-room only crowds throughout the day and high-level audience engagement, TechFreedom’s Back to the Future of Policy was a major success. Not only was the conversation robust on the day of the event, with #B2TFsummit trending in Washington, D.C., but it still continues. To this day, laptop stickers with the Glen Echo-produced custom illustrations from the event can still be seen on laptops around Capitol Hill, and the Back to the Future of Policy is often used as a benchmark for D.C. policy summits.