Supporting an Indigenous languages conference

first nations woman wearing regalia and dancing
Pewi Alfred dancing / Photo by Amanda Laliberte

iilo provided a range of communication design services for the international HELISET TŦE SḰÁL conference in a short amount of time. The event was a huge success & we’re honoured to have been a part of creating the visual language that brought the conference to life.

Communication design challenge

The First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation (FPCF) is a registered charity that generates support and funding for the vitality of Indigenous languages, arts, and cultural heritage in BC.

In June 2019, the FPCF and the First People’s Cultural Council (FPCC) hosted HELISET TŦE SḰÁL (pronounced ha-LEE-sut-te-skwayl) – Let the Languages Live, an international conference. Held on the territories of the Lekwungen-speaking Peoples in Victoria, BC, HELISET TŦE SḰÁL focused on the revitalization of Indigenous languages.

The FPCF engaged iilo Creative Alliance to produce the conference brand look and feel, as well as a family of event materials. We worked with an original piece of artwork designed by TEMOSEN Charles Elliott, an Indigenous master carver and painter. We digitized a unique icon he created, and its colours and textures became our inspiration to extend into the brand applications.

Conference branding with Illustration created by Charles Elliott
Indoor signage for the HELISET TŦE SḰÁL conference

We created many graphic assets and a graphic standards document to create consistency across all pre-event and conference digital and print materials. Since the event was focused on language, we looked for opportunities to integrate and highlight Indigenous languages wherever possible in the conference artwork. The brand included a collection of original icons to represent the various conference program streams for easy visual recognition.

Choosing a Canadian-designed syllabics font called Huronia allowed us to represent a wide variety of Indigenous languages, as closely as possible, which was crucial for this event.

Heliset branded name tag, button and paper card
Branded items made for HELISET TŦE SḰÁL conference attendees
Both sides of the Cloth bag with illustration and conference name
Front & back of the HELISET TŦE SḰÁL conference event bag

Conference materials

This project was highly collaborative and we worked closely with client representatives from the FPCF and FPCC, as well as with the event producers. As part of our role, we provided quality assurance support by reviewing the artwork files for many event collateral items — like bags, mugs, pens, and t-shirts — throughout the production process.

Shirts for helpers at the conference
Conference program and notebook provided to conferences attendees

We designed a conference sponsorship package for sponsor recruitment activities, with an original set of icons to represent various sponsorship levels. We also created the event program, which included a detailed schedule for the three-day event. The schedule became a living document that we updated regularly for use on the conference website leading up to the event.

Given the large event venue, the Victoria Conference Centre, the venue’s existing digital signage options, and the extensive event program, we produced a large and varied range of print signage on a compressed timeline. Signage included large exterior and interior banners reflecting conference branding and programming streams, as well as room and wayfinding signage.

We also conceptualized and designed large, modular signage that could be adapted to accommodate event programming changes, while being easy to process at a glance and legible in high-traffic venue locations.

Conference program booklet and name tag
Flags for
Conference banners
Two spread of the conference schedule
HELISET TŦE SḰÁL conference schedule, including original icons designed to showcase the various program streams


Our collaborative nature and ability to expand our team capacity as needed allowed us to scale up and provide a range of services for the event in a short amount of time. The HELISET TŦE SḰÁL conference was a huge success with over 1,000 attendees from over 20 countries.

The inside building with two long wall banners and a totem pole
The building and banners at the HELISET TŦE SḰÁL conference in Victoria, BC
The welcome desks at the conference

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