Monthly Archives: November 2007

The Adelaide festival of Arts 2008 Poster has been up and around for a few weeks now, probably the biggest art orientated design item going in this city, I thought it was time to once again take a look at what they’ve come up with this time around. This is what the blurb on the Festival website has to say about it:

In 2008 we celebrate the artwork of a South Australian visual artist for the Festival’s ‘look’. Our motto, What are you seeing? begins with our cover design – the ambiguous, biomorphic sculpture by Michael Kutschbach (go, you little dynamo, go!). After a tradition of a two-dimensional image representing the Festival, we take you for the first time into the third dimension with a sculptural object to surprise, confound and delight.

“I like the idea of the sculpture being thought of as a peculiar kind of Alien. An Alien that is fresh and new to this city, yet at the same time entirely formed by it and its people.

The work is essentially intended as a very tactile object whose final form is the result of an attempt to embody, in abstract formal terms, the strength, dynamism, beauty, confidence and playfulness that will be the upcoming 2008 Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts.

It is a friendly and uncertain form designed to appeal directly to the viewer’s senses, to deliberately entice the viewer to come closer and to ask what it is and what it might be doing here. This positive uncertainty and desired curiosity runs through the Festival’s theme of What are you seeing?”

While I would argue that this is the first time that the image of the Festival has been represented by a three dimmensional sculptural object (both the posters for 2002 and 1978 both feature sculptural items as their focus) it’s never the less an interesting visual – kind of a cross between a triffid and a sunlamp from my perspective, I don’t know if my interpretation says nothing or everything about the event (encompassing the literate and the vain perhaps? 🙂

It’s obvious from the poster that like the 2006 piece, this comes across as very much a branding exercise, a centrepiece to offshoot all of the Festivals communication requirements rather than just a stand alone, though they have gone back to incorporating a piece of fine art as was the norm previous to the 2006 poster.

It’s a pity then that the Festival site doesn’t mention the contributions made in this regard by the design firm, Fusion, who are handling the branding of the 2008 event. The most impressive aspect of the poster to me is the typography (though I guess you would say I’d say that!) It’s beautifully organic and flowing, playing off those elements of the sculptural piece and implemented across the entire range of the Festivals promotional items. Fusion are an excellent choice to carry this out, their expertise in new media, online applications and video are second to none, and where this branding really comes to life is when you see the typography move and grow across the screen in television commercials and online. It’s been really well thought out to work across all mediums rather than pandering to the needs of one or the other – quite a task for such a large event that covers just about every promotional medium.

As a poster it does it’s job effectively, it’s nice to see all that white space for the beautiful type to stand out in, and the sculptural piece is a ‘have to take a second look’ sort of proposition’, As is typical with this kind of thing, the only off-putting element for me is the size of those logos at the bottom, something I’m sure is out of the designers hands and a neccessary evil, but for some reason looks all the more obtrusive this time around.

Can anyone explain to me why these posters for the Adelaide Film Festival (first) and The Durban Film Festival (second) are so similar? Not pointing the finger at anyone, but they are both really similar to each other – not just from an idea standpoint but stylistically similar as well, they could all have been produced during the same photo shoot. They both must have been produced at around the same time, was there some ‘consensus of vision’ as far as the promotional material for both events? I tend to think not because of the difference in how the typography is handled. There were more in the series for the Adelaide event, but these two presented here were they only ones I could find online, sorry about the quality of the ‘set of 3’ below for the Durban event, I took a screen grap from a pdf giving a sneak peak of a book soon to be released by Durban design firm Disturbance. I seem to remember there being an Adelaide one similar to the Durban ‘hair salon’ one as well. Maybe it’s just a case of the collective zeitgeist clashing in the same idea at the same moment – you don’t know how long I’e been waiting to use the word zeitgeist in one of my posts! Regardless, they have both ‘borrowed’ heavily from avante-garde music and visual art group The Residents, though clarification on the matter would be appreciated.


Monica from the Durban Film Festival was kind enough to reply and shed some light from their perspective on the whole scenario – seems it is just a case of synchronisity at work! She does raise a good point about where I sourced the images though, and if you’re interested at seeing more of the Durban Eyeball guy, go to their site here to check it out.