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The Visual Theme of Relativity Fest 2021

Blair Cohen

2020 was a paradigm-shifting year like no other in recent memory. In our first ever virtual Relativity Fest, we focused on connecting in new ways, leading through difficult times, and moving forward (“Hey look, that was the 2020 theme!”) to look toward the future.

In 2021, we proceed forward with newfound clarity, resilience, and confidence. And in a world that remains ever-changing and complex, being the agents of the change we wish to see in the world looms large in all of our minds.

But how do we spark change, forge new connections, and derive transformational insights? Well, that starts with a catalyst—and that’s our theme for Relativity Fest 2021.

Catalyst: An Agent of Change

When I first heard that our theme was “catalyst,” I was propelled back to middle school science class (I didn’t do well, for those of you wondering). A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change. As I read this description, I thought to myself: “Do I need to get a lab coat for Fest this year...?”

Whether in person or virtual, the secret sauce of Relativity Fest has always been, and always will be, our community. While we aren’t literally creating a chemical reaction, when our community gets together, we spark ideas, curiosity, and new ways of thinking. At first, this happens with each other at Fest; then, we bring that curiosity back to our organizations, the pockets of people we work with, and to the industry at large.

If we look at ourselves as part of the chemical reaction: We take our different perspectives, backgrounds, and workflows and bring them to Relativity Fest. We share our thoughts and ideas during sessions, in social groups, on social media, and directly with each other. When we work together, we accelerate a transformation—a change in the way we work and approach new challenges. Whether that manifests as a transformation of ideas, business solutions, or relationships, we unlock hidden insights though a catalyst of some kind.

When we come together, we increase our impact and inspire a burst of innovation that goes way beyond ourselves.

Through the Lens of the Kaleidoscope

As a catalyst produces change and drives us ahead on a transformative adventure, we discover new depths and layers—insights that go beyond what we already know, and help close knowledge gaps with each step we take. For Fest each year, we develop a visual design to bring those thematic depths and layers to life. In 2021, we’ll be traversing through Relativity Fest through the lens of the kaleidoscope.

Again, when this visual theme struck me, I was brought back to my childhood—losing myself in a kaleidoscope for hours on end was something that I was used to as an only child. On the outside, a kaleidoscope is just a tube with a hole in it. (I know, not the visual you were expecting, but stick with me here.) It’s not until you look inside and close one eye that you see different shapes, colors, and textures coming together to create something really magical.

It might seem like staring into the same kaleidoscope over time, constantly turning that dial, could get boring—so what keeps us going back to it? The constant changing patterns, our ability to pause the turn of the kaleidoscope and see all of the shapes separate, the colors—ultimately the ability to lose ourselves in the immersive experience is mesmerizing and inspiring. That’s what keeps us coming back for more. Like Relativity Fest year over year, the view you get inside that kaleidoscope is never quite the same from visit to visit and turn to turn.

Echoing our broader theme, a kaleidoscope is a mechanism of change. It’s a device that’s constantly catalyzing one state into another. With each turn of the lens, we discover new colors, shapes, and ever-evolving patterns. This parallels the changing shape of data we encounter these days, like the ever-changing evolutions in the types, formats, storage mechanisms, and modes of access to that data we encounter. At Relativity, we’re committed to advancing the software and solutions our customers and communities need to take control of each twist and turn of the kaleidoscope.

Bringing Vibrant and Diverse Ideas to Life

You’ll notice this year’s visual color palette features bright and vibrant colors, from different color palates. The different colors represent diversity—in opinions, backgrounds, viewpoints, disciplines.

Our industry is constantly impacted by change. To navigate this change successfully, we need the perspectives that represent our community. The more diverse our teams are, the better poised they are to tackle this changing landscape that we find ourselves in.

As we jump into the universe of the kaleidoscope at Relativity Fest 2021, our hope is that you’ll find a catalyst that inspires you. We can’t wait to come together this year and discover new truths with you all. Join us virtually from October 4 – 6 to twist the kaleidoscope and find your catalyst.

Artwork for this article was created by Kael Rose and Natalie Andrews.

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Blair Cohen is a brand program manager at Relativity, representing the company with enthusiasm, authenticity, and her flair for humor. When she isn't shining a light on women in tech via Stellar Women or cracking jokes on the main stage at Relativity Fest, you can find her running around Chicago finding the best places to eat with her dog, Goose.

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