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Designing the Festival Identity

— Lyall Bruce

Designer Lyall Bruce explains some of the thinking behind the development of this years Dundee Design Festival identity, which you can download and experiment with by following his link at the end of the blog.

Lyall Bruce is a designer and partner at Agency of None. He designed the Dundee Design festival identity and shares some of his thoughts on the process of creating and evolving it year to year.

Re-visiting your work isn’t something that happens often, so to come back again to refresh the Dundee Design Festival identity this year was an interesting opportunity.

The original festival identity was designed as a one-off and was created as a woven pattern using the factory’s surrounding shapes and the colour palette from the printing presses that once resided within the space at West Ward Works.

In 2017 festival looked more generally at the factory floor and production within design, and for me that was good opportunity to evolve the ideas started last year rather than start from scratch.

2016 Design Festival Pattern (left) and the reworked pattern for 2017 (right)

Moving things forward typographically

One of the areas that I felt was lacking the previous year was the typographic design work. I focused heavily on pattern and creating a pattern that would be recognisable throughout the festival that, in many ways, type was a bit of a distraction and inconvenience to the visual identity.

So for 2017 I wanted to swing that around and focus on type and how the pattern could evolve into a visual language. This began with looking at the shapes that were there and how these could be reconfigured to provide the foundations of letterforms.

I experimented with different levels of detail eventually settling on a minimal approach with each letterform made from 2 elements that took the legibility as far as I felt it was safe to go within the context of the eventual use.

Development process of the 2017 identity letterforms

Choosing the right colour palette is very important to the overall design

For any identity project choosing the right colours is as much part of the design process as typography and visual design. Unless you are beginning the identity from scratch then most projects will already have a colour palette in place and sometimes a strong identity design can carry more than one colour palette option.

For the Dundee Design Festival, with it’s them based approach to the content, it made sense to approach the colour in the same way and look at how it could be used to reinforce the Factory Floor concept.

There is something really industrial about blue and yellow as a colour palette and once you see that association you begin seeing it everywhere! So this was easily the colour palette choice for this year. For me it was the yellow of the markings on factory floors and the blue of boiler suits, but it could easily have been the yellow of the machinery and the blue of the safety signs.

Application of the design ranged from posters through to screen and the colour had to work as spot colours, CMYK and RGB and the design had to be flexible enough to work across print, screen and for installation within the space.

Presentation needs to be considered carefully

Process of creating images for promotional use – original image (left), Photoshop in progress (centre) and final image (right)

I was working on the promotional imagery quite quickly as the turnaround between completing the print runs and getting media coverage was small – we literally had to photograph on a smart phone and use photoshop to tidy the results.

Some of the images needed just simple colour and contrast tweaks and others needed a more intensive revisions. The most codex image was the combined image showing the invitations that were printed on GF Smith Gmund Urban Concrete card and the posters. The image that was sent to me was a nice composition but had lots of small areas that needed tweaked – this resulted in a complex photoshop adjustment with the shadow being cast the hardest thing to work around, you can see this in the image sequence above.

The exciting part of any identity design is seeing it in the wild and hearing people’s feedback. If you want to explore more of the design work that went into this years identity you can visit my project page on Behance or on my website.

There is also this article written by Creative Boom and you can access all the design elements over here if you want to experiment with the design yourself, or just look at how the digital files are constructed.

Design work for this project was created using the Adobe Creative Suite – particularly; Illustrator for all vector drawing, InDesign for poster layouts, Photoshop for image manipulation and Animate for motion graphics.

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