We helped former Apple CEO John Sculley give a rousing – and retro – TED Talk.

17 October, 2019

We helped former Apple CEO John Sculley give a rousing – and retro – TED Talk.

For many presentation design agencies their two dream jobs would be to either work with the CEO of Apple or to create a presentation for a high profile TED Talk. We just did both.

John Sculley was the CEO of Apple between 1983 and 1993, and was also the man who famously fired Steve Jobs. John was invited by the founder of TED, Chris Anderson, to give a talk about how technology has changed our lives over the past 30 years.

Retro presentation

John had been set the challenge of giving his presentation a ‘retro’ feel to better reflect the timescale about which he was speaking. Although TED’s original plan was to use era-appropriate technology such as overhead projectors and acetate, it was eventually decided to settle on a PowerPoint presentation with a retro design.

So John contacted us.

In essence he gave us an ‘anti-brief’. He wanted us to make his presentation to look bad and not at all like modern, designed slides. For our team of young designers that became a challenge, requiring them to fight against their highly polished skills that normally produce something slick and cutting edge.

PowerPoint of yesteryear

The final presentation is very unique. We used black and white imagery and matched them with old fashioned, rarely used fonts. We also gave each slide a slight flicker, to simulate the presentation screens of 30 years ago.

The retro aesthetic was combined with a strong sense of visual story-telling. John’s presentation itself was fascinating, and was only enhanced by our slide designs, helping to transport the TED Talk audience back three decades.

Speaking after the talk, John said of our design work:

“You achieved a powerful and tasteful design that really brought my presentation to life.”

Coming from the former CEO of both Apple and Pepsi, we’ll take it.

You can find out more about John Sculley and his part in Apple’s history in the documentary ‘Billion Dollar Hippy’, streaming now on Netflix.

And if you’d like us to create something as visually stunning for you as we did for John, you can check out the website you’re currently on, streaming now on your screen.