How do you sell the future?

Nesta is the UK’s innovation foundation. They imagine and then make real the things that will improve how our world works. These include ‘NT Live’ – an initiative that came from Nesta’s question: “how do we make world-class theatre more accessible?”

FutureFest is Nesta’s annual festival of, well, the future. It’s a mashup of talks, installations and other stuff that give you a sneak peek into how we’ll be living, working and playing in 10-15 years from now. Highlights from 2016’s festival included live micro-chip implantations and a future food stall selling ice-cream made from insects (spoiler alert: we will all be eating insects in the future)

Nesta asked me and my design partner, Made Noise, to create an ad for Time Out magazine that captured this. Which immediately presented us with the question: how do we show ‘the future’ without it looking like a poster for a naff 1950s B movie?

It’s a fact that the future is something that’s very hard to show. The default seems to be sexy robot women or CAD drawings. We decided to sidestep this problem altogether and focus instead on how FutureFest made you feel.

Mind-blowing is an overused phrase but you do leave FutureFest feeling like your brain has been changed slightly. When we led a creative workshop with the FutureFest team this is what came up over and over again: going to FutureFest makes your brain feel different.

Approaching the brief from this jumping-off point– how do we show what FutureFest feels like – led to a number of creative  routes.

The weekend away with a difference:



The intellectual mash-up:


But the final ad that ran in Time Out was in many ways the simplest:



Find out more about Nesta and FutureFest here