Harry Marks’ career happened at the intersection of typography, technology and television. His vision has influenced the look of modern TV, film and video — picture those fluidly moving, 3D letters that fly over the screen to introduce a news broadcast or pop a sports score onto the screen. His influence on this field is absolutely foundational — it’s the headline in his obituary this week in The Hollywood Reporter.
But within Marks’ rich creative life was the seed of another influential cultural moment: He is the co-founder of the TED Conference — which is now a global movement of idea sharing, shared in hundreds of languages among millions of people every day.
In the video above from Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning, Marks tells the story of how he came up with the idea for a conference about technology, entertainment and design while developing title sequences for television using then-new tools of computer graphics:
“I worked with musicians. I worked with artists. I worked with designers. I worked with scientists. I worked with engineers. And it struck me at one point that we were … bringing these very divergent technologies together. I came up with this idea that I wanted to do a conference, but I didn’t know how to do a conference.
“So Richard came and visited … and I said: ‘Let’s go for a walk.’ I said, ‘I have this idea for a conference that’s technology, entertainment and design, and how they relate to each other, hence TED. I said, ‘Would you help me to do a conference, or would you show me how to do it?’
He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll help you. Just give me half. We’ll do it together, we’ll be partners.’ And he brought in Frank Stanton … just a wonderful man, with huge credentials. So the three of us did the first TED in 1984. … And it totally worked, in principle. It didn’t work financially for us at all, but it worked in principle.”
The next TED didn’t happen until six years later, in 1990. Below is a delightful piece of archive video from TED2, in which Marks looks back on what those six years have brought.
I think what I remember most about Harry and the TED2 conference was his love of all things over-the-top INSANE.
As I recall, Tom Rielly and I suggested that we should create a 3D TED-zilla movie for the closing ceremonies at TED2.
Harry encouraged us both to go CRAZY and we use an early version of Adobe Premiere to create this INSANE bit of video for the show.
We passed out 3D glasses to everyone, and the audience went crazy, and asked for a resounding encore.
I remember that Harry was laughing so hard and had a smile from ear to ear.
We both had another good laugh that Timothy Leary was in the audience and we even made him trip out as well.
Such good times. I will truly miss those early, early days with Harry at the TED Conferences.
We’re just back from the 35th annual TED Conference last week, and while much about TED has changed, this vision still holds — of bold looks into the future, an occasional trip-out, and a healthy dash of silliness. All of us at TED remain grateful for this founding vision.
from TED Blog http://bit.ly/2GM79Au