ContraryCon is an annual (anti)conference hosted by by ISL with one goal: expose unique thinkers while elevating the DC creative community. Insert Unrest (this year’s theme) focused on those who deliberately agitate their respective disciplines, break best practices, and make unconventional decisions to redefine the limits of their craft.
CCIII featured celebrity chefs, mystery guests, editorial avante-gardes, and so much more. ISL’s creative, engineering, and strategic resources came together to craft the experience, from the deliberately discomforting website and photography to speaker and sponsor acquisition.
I loved the freedom I had in designing the site. I wanted to create something discomforting without being distracting or taking away from the UI. The result was a mix of emerging web elements that displayed a weird, but fascinating website.
The ContraryCon site is a collaboration between ISL’s interactive designers and front-end web developers. It pushes the boundaries with movement and interaction – custom photography melts and morphs with WebGL effects and GIFs move in unexpected ways creating a sense of motion that upsets and delights. The designers and engineers highly recommend you experience the site yourself: click here.
Our goal was to create a welcoming, comfortable environment within brand guidelines that was also a little... weird. No detail was spared: lighting, multimedia, stage setup, exteriors, and the SELFIE mirror were all arranged, decorated, and designed to fit the CCIII brand.
Locking in speakers that fit the ContraryCon ethos was a challenge. They needed to be a rule breaker, and in DC that can be tough to find. The entire staff came together to create a deliberate, effective marketing and outreach plan. We were thrilled with this year's lineup.
This year’s lineup featured a number of established, unconventional characters. Famed celebrity chef José Andrés joined us, as well as a mystery guest that works for a commercial space flight company (they’re so high profile, we can’t list their name). Disruptive editorial and media personalities Joseph Price (Sr. Product Manager, The Washington Post), Amy King & Rachel Orr (Editor in Chief/Creative Director, The Lily) and Abby Wendle (Producer, Invisibilia) came to discuss their craft. Christian Dutilh & Jacob Weinzettel (Co-Founders, Composite Co.) inspired aspiring creatives as Kalsoom Lakhani (Founder/CEO, Invest2Innovate) inspired future leaders.
In keeping with the CCIII aesthetic, we aimed for simplicity on social. No overwhelming tagging or posting strategies – just custom content, packaged for social, strategically targeted toward DC’s creative community. Our platform strategy was also deliberately simple – Twitter and Instagram only. Our target audience uses these platforms to showcase work and state interests/opinions. That’s where we wanted to live.
250 Attendees, 7 Incredible Speakers, 10 Months Til CCIV
A brand. A site. An unforgettable event. Contrary Con III inspired, impacted, and imparted wisdom on the hundreds that came by. We have big plans in store for next year’s event, so stay tuned.
XOXO, The Contrarians