Creating the Festival of Voice look

by Oliver Norcott

I’m Ollie, a graphic designer and photographer based in Wales. After studying Graphic Design and Photographic Art, I chose to pursue my interest in the visual arts by becoming a freelancer. Since then, I have worked with clients such as Ffotogallery, theprintspace, European Prospects and Diffusion Festival before joining the Festival of Voice team as a freelancer back in November 2016.

I was brought on board to re-imagine the Festival of Voice visual identity to appeal to our many different audiences and adapt to the expansive programme once it is announced. With this in mind, initial ideas began to explore ways in which the identity could manifest differently according to each show and embody the festival philosophy. Whilst the visual narrative was being explored, I created the logotype with the bilingual nature of the festival name in mind. We wanted the Welsh and English to feel equal and to be visually connected. The introduction of the angular soundwave is used as a device to blend the two languages together and create a strong presence. You might have noticed our moving logo on the homepage – we hope you like it!

Building on the festival’s use of soundwaves back in 2016, I took the concept forward by experimenting with cymatics, a process where patterns emerge from playing sound, music and voices through water. Exploring cymatics provided an exciting platform to generate unique images that directly respond to the voices that will be heard at the 2018 festival.

With a subwoofer turned upside down and a small cup placed on top of a coffee filter lid, all held together with gaffer tape, I began photographing intricate patterns that twisted and turned in response to the music I was playing, with different sounds producing beautiful patterns with distinctive characteristics.

The possibilities for creative exploration were endless with this visual narrative and the whole team liked these ideas. I started to explore with paint and a variety of other materials to introduce another dimension to the patterns that were being generated. These tests produced an interesting alternative and they worked especially well as moving images but the clarity of the cymatics were softened with the addition of different colours. Looking for the clarity and depth found in the earlier tests, we decided to adopt the original cymatics, and these would be used for unique content during the early stages before the programme was announced.

The cymatics provide a visual language that can manifest differently according to each show - a moving, pulsing image that would work well with an electro gig or a moving, beautiful, fluid image that would work with contemporary classical music.

Inspired by the cymatics, the supporting graphic elements were developed for print and online materials, with a wide variety of colours and shapes to choose from. The organic cymatics as moving images captured the ‘live’ aspect of the festival but as still photographs, they became fixed artefacts of the music. The graphic elements capture the movement and aesthetic that the cymatics delivered whilst having complete control over the colour palette to strengthen the core elements of the visual identity.

Earlier versions focused on the outlines to create a shape that captured the flowing and energetic movement found in the organic cymatics. With the addition of colour, these core graphics delivered options that could work across print and online applications to show a unified experience across all platforms, establishing the Festival of Voice visual identity.

We hope you enjoy what we’ve created. You’ll be seeing a lot of it in 2018!

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