The first thing you’ll notice about the design elements for “Revival,” the 2015 AIGA Design Conference, is that it doesn’t look like other design conferences. I could insert a corny line here about how that’s because “it’s not like other design conferences” (which I guess I just did) but there’s a reason for that. We’ve all been to a zillion conferences and by now we have the format down pat: Speaker after speaker is trotted out and given 20 minutes to impress, inspire, and motivate us—which is undoubtedly great, and oftentimes quite uplifting. But where does a speech delivered in the vacuum of a rented events space leave us once the weekend is over?

There are many things that make AIGA Design Conferences unique, including loads of extras that take attendees well beyond the main stage and out into the host city, which in this case, is New Orleans (!!!). So to create an identity design that captures the colorful city, plus all the other visual elements for the conference, AIGA turned to local designer Nessim Higson, who grew up in New Orleans and graduated from Loyola University’s design department before founding iamalwayshungry.

As 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Katrina, Higson recommended “Revival” as the conference theme, to “touch on the past while staying focused on the future.” For Higson, the word immediately brought to mind imagery of “rebirth, regrowth, and rebuilding,” which he and his team interwove with symbolic, lush florals (by floral stylist Ariel Dearie) and a classic New Orleans jazz dancer.

The shoot took place in two locations simultaneously—no easy feat—but Higson and co. pulled it off and created what he describes as a “campaign that’s beautiful and has depth.” Indeed, the results are exciting, moving, and a little mysterious—much like the AIGA Revival Design Conference itself, though you can break through that air of mystique a bit (and see the schedule of events, buy tickets, etc.) at designconference.aiga.org.

Photos by Frank Aymami.