A festival made for serious aficionados, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival is jazz done right. Every care is taken to program intelligent yet accessible work, in settings that showcase the best of Melbourne.
2017 was a very special year for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. It was their 20th anniversary and, as such, we felt it was time to break with tradition and take the MIJF identity in a new direction.
Looking at ways to symbolise 20 years of jazz, we created an icosahedron: an intriguing shape with 20 faces. To take the concept a little further, we looked to traditional (and not-so-traditional) anniversary gifts for inspiration. Reflecting MIJF’s penchant for celebrating both the old and the new, we combined materials of porcelain and platinum to create the final form.
The decision to use yellow was an important one. Returning punters would be familiar with the MIJF palette of blues and pinks and a departure such as this was not without its risks. Would we invigorate or alienate? We took a chance and it paid off. The final product is both anomalous and yet undeniably jazz. Like the festival itself, it appeals to the established jazz fans while piquing the curiosity of newcomers.
2016 was another big year. While the previous three festivals (2013-2015) dealt with various aspects of live jazz (the audience, the player and the language), in 2016, it was time to focus on the sound.
Of course, the idea of seeing sound was a tantalising brief for our designers. Initial concepts centred around a waveform, which could be used across the marketing campaign. Inspiration came from footage of the jazz greats playing live. The challenge was to turn all of this energy into a design.
Early concepts for the waveform were formed from the peaks and troughs that were generated by using actual music. Even the ‘smoothest’ of songs created a huge amount of information and produced surprisingly jagged landscapes. Looking for more control over the appearance of the waveform, we built our tool to create custom forms to suit the artist and level of complexity of the music.
A festival setting is a unique way to experience music, and we wanted the finished design to reflect the unique nature of live music. Using the tool, hundreds of unique waveforms were created and used right across the marketing materials for the festival.
Once the designers began to realise this shifting and flowing sound landscape, the digital team tapped in to give the concept movement as well as developing an all important tool to generate different waveforms in a spectrum of different styles and complexities.
Of the process, lead designer Andrew Fiscalini says: “The animated waveform came much later in the development and branding. It was more of a golden opportunity than something that we set out to accomplish. The animated wave completed the circle for the viewer and changed their original perception of the printed pieces.”