Tips for Creating a Strong Visual Identity

Jacob Little is the Digital Marketing Manager at Fiasco Design, a multi-award winning creative design agency based in Bristol. Fiasco’s work ranges from creating the new visual identity of the Larmer Tree Festival to a full rebrand of the Tobacco Factory Theatres.

We live in an entertainment-saturated world. Throughout the summer, there are thousands of things vying for our attention, from festivals and gigs to pop-up stores, events, sales and deals. Having recently carried out a refresh of the Larmer Tree Festival’s brand identity, here are a few things we learned on the importance of creating a strong, established and coherent brand when marketing a small festival.

A strong personality

Increasingly, consumers are shying away from the impersonal. Rather, they are seeking out the story – the soft touch that establishes some personality to a festival and one that moves away from big sponsored events that can at times feel generic. The age of the small, independent festival is very much upon us, and part of the aim of coherent festival branding is to make sure your personality shines through and become a defining part of the message you want to put out into the world.

A strong visual identity lives long in the memory

There are hundreds of festivals throughout the summer, so how will yours stand out? A coherent visual identity across all platforms helps bring together all marketing activity, pushing it out along common themes that your audience will continue to recognise whether they’re looking at posters, on their phone or watching video advertising. Create a personality and make your branding stand out, but also bear in mind that the look needs to be consistent across all printed and digital platforms.

It’s about the people

It’s the people who visit your festival who make it what it is, and your branding and visual identity should almost certainly reflect that. Take cues from your visitors; who they are, what they listen to, and how they dress should all factor into your branding campaign. Make something the people who visit your festival appreciate aesthetically, and don’t forget to the thank them in your marketing. Make them feel wanted!

The setting and environment

Where is your festival located? What does that say about it, the people involved and the kind of visitor that you’re attracting? People visit festivals because they’re different from your average weekend – it’s a unique, special kind of event. It’s wise to reflect this in your branding across all channels, and show something of the space in what you’re creating. Larmer Tree Festival is lucky that its setting really is one of a kind, so it was important to show something of this in its branding. Having said that, every festival location has something of its own character, so paying attention to this and reflecting it in the look and feel goes a long way to establishing a strong identity.

What kind of scene?

Strong identities are linked to strong scenes, and nowhere is that more apparent than within the wealth of festivals during the summer in the UK. Get to know the scene the festival you’re designing for is in, design accordingly and make the branding suit every element of that personality, from the colour pallette to the type of advertising that’s going to get in front of the right people.

The aspiring demographic

Who is your audience and what kind of branding / design do they aspire to? Aim to create something that aligns itself to this, instead of putting something in front of them that they’ve seen before. Create something inventive, and be tuned into the fact that many festivalgoers today have more travel freedom, consumer choice and visual consciousness than ever before.

Defining a strong visual identity for your festival is more important than ever, in an age when so much is defined by people’s initial reaction to the way something feels or how it looks. Festival branding needs to be current, consistent and able to be consumed in a variety of different ways on a number of different platforms.