Jon Averill Studio
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Life Festival

Life Festival
Art Direction & Strategy


I have been working with Life Festival for a few years now as part of a gradual process to change the style of the festival – make consistent design & branding a tool to help build a stronger identity.

 

"It was time to get away from the back to nature style & find something a little more confident".

 

Previous

I found all the original artwork for festival to create & get a sense of what had gone before. Previously the festival has been more associated with psy-trance & has gone through a lot changes. I felt artwork showing a sky & field style design has been used across multiple events so really while at one time appropriate had no real identity. You could change the name & it could be used for any festival. 

Research

Research & planning was extremely important for a job such as this. I spent a few days looking at all the major festival across Europe & how they presented themselves visually & how their work progressed over their promotion campaign & what I could learn from this.

System

I worked closely with designer Alan Kennington who suggested looking at Fibonacci numbers as way to interpret the 'life' part of the festival.
This created a jump off point for the whole festival & led to building an adaptable grid system on which we could base everything around. 

For the first rollout in 2016 it was about 50/50 between print & screen. We broke up the Fibonacci grid to create lots of permutations in form & 4 colour palette. We then to create a more branded feel decided to treat each act image in the brand colours. 

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changes over 3 years

The method of promoting the festival, & responding to this visually has changed quite considerably over the 3 years. Part of my job is understanding what is happening in technology & social media & how to react to it. 
The most recent festival required a huge amount of content compared to the first year, nearly 70% more assets were created. We needed to have content to post on Instagram almost daily. Targeted Facebook adverts & more date driven approach were also becoming more prevalent. 

 

"Over 80% of our website visits were on mobile so the site & content had to be designed to reflect that"

 

The 2018 event was unique in that our mobile viewings had increased so much that desktop communications were almost obsolete. Over 85% of our views were mobile only. The assets needed to be designed in a more more simple style. I made the website almost entirely typographic. 
Our colour system focused on an RGB gradient colour range that really only worked on screen. 

Although most promotion for the festival was online I tried to consider what it's like being at a festival, the journey down, mobile phones dying or getting lost & what information you need so I decided to create printable timetable with extremely detailed timetables to avoid act clashes & designed to people could highlight what acts they wanted to see. 

Visually, festivals are in danger of becoming more generic which feels like a mistake as the space to communicate is now mainly limited to the size of a phone screen. In my research I found that, with a few notable exceptions festivals are increasingly playing it safe. Using forest/sky/nature images & putting acts to the forefront rather than try to stand out more.

During the period we were involved the festival has enjoyed it's most successful years ever, whilst this was down to the hard work of the promoters I think we helped to focus the communications, both visually & ensuring the message was clear & consistent.
I felt with my experience running, & designing for events I was especially suited to a job such as this.