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Photos by Jules Slutsky

Manifesting Security

IBM Security Summit New York 2019

George P Johnson Experience Marketing



Experience Strategist


Creative Strategy, Concept Development

Creative Team

Nat Wittstruck, Creative Director

Nicole Carleton, Graphic Designer

Danielle Dirr, 3D Designer

How might we create a holistic and scalable experience that communicates IBM Security's core values?

The Security Summit in New York is IBM Security's tentpole proprietary event. It is an opportunity to kick off the tone and experience for the coming year, and informs around 15 subsequent Security Summits globally, as well as their presence at third party conferences. This meant that the activations we developed for the event needed to work for multiple audiences and budgets, and easily translate around the world.


I partnered closely with the design and client content team to articulate and achieve our goals of a cohesive event experience with interactive elements that could scale and adapt for future used.

The overall experience design used light to bathe attendees in the IBM Security 'aurora,' which signifies an aura of protection, free of fear and negativity. 


I worked with the creative team to establish an overarching design system for the event that aligned each of IBM Security's 3 content pillars to a key color in the aurora, as well as a central element of the day's agenda.

This content framework was applied to the digital interactive engagements we developed for the event.


Security in Action tells three different security threat stories. Each setting aligns to a distinct element of the event programming—coffee, lunch and cocktail hour. Through a tromp l'oile effect, attendees are immersed in a security threat and watch as the threat plays out through a variety of business and life implications.


We created 5 micro narratives for each environment. Narrative development and scripting required close collaboration with the client content team to make sure we were telling the right stories based in the right tech.

In addition to Security in Action, we partnered to develop a series of security threat readiness assessments and illustrated client stories for each of the three content pillars/environments.


Both voice-over and interactive touch screen versions were created for each client story. This ensured the client stories were suitable for the low touch C-level audience at Summit, as well as adaptable for higher engagement trade show attendees. 


Screen ratios were designed so that each interactive is able to scale down to a tablet.

The pandemic put our scalability talk to the test.


With the help of a developer, we were able to pivot each interactives to function in a virtual tradeshow environment, the IBM Security Virtual Experience, which was used as a sales progression tool for the subsequent global IBM Security Summits throughout 2020.

Copyright 2020 by Rachel Matthews