Creating the Experience

Do you remember that last party you threw? If you’re like us you might have got everyone together via the tried and tested means of Facebook. Do you remember that moment just before you made your event public, when you realised that the picture you’d chosen to be the face of your event just wasn’t right? Everyone loves David Bowie, but the picture of him you found on that Cats with famous people tumblr was just too serious, his cat too regal. It wasn’t the perfect celebrity with a cat photo to represent your upcoming shindig. After frantically searching through the tumblr blog again, you ind the perfect photo. A moustache sporting Freddie Mercury just chilling out with his very fluffy, adorable cat. Hilarious. Now people were sure to come. This party was definitely going to be awesome fun times.

That my friends, is actually event design. Event design at its smallest and perhaps slightly shameful trough. Massively expand that small process you’ve been going through for years, throw in a budget and some serious talent, and you get what goes into designing the branding for major festivals. The questions you asked yourself are the same questions designers ask themselves about the designs they create for major festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury. They’re the same questions we asked ourselves when we designed the branding and collateral for the upcoming Happy Music Festival. Is this look right for this event? Does it accurately represent the experience people will have? Most importantly, will it make people want to come and experience what we’ll be giving them?

poster design

Design for an event is really a promise. It is the promise of an intangible experience that hasn’t yet happened. People have to see it and feel the need to be there, without being given the guarantee of a concrete deliverable. And the design has got be spot on. People need to leave with their minds blown. Obviously that’s got to do with the actual entertainment itself; if the music sucks on the day, then no ones going to be happy. But let’s say it does rock. People need to feel they’ve walked away with the whole package, not only the performance, but the vibe and the atmosphere of the festival itself has to align with what they thought they were getting when they shelled out for the ticket.

If you think about it, once the instruments have been packed away and the glowsticks have been thrown in the trash, and that very personal infection you picked up on the second night has cleared up, all you have left are your memories and the visual artefacts. And they’re so intertwined. Years later you’ll be in the queue for a burger somewhere, or sitting on the bus, and you’ll see someone wearing the branded festival t-shirt from the year you went, with the list of all the bands you missed because you were drunk, or lost or hanging with your friends, and the ones you did that were truly unequalled. You won’t be able to stop yourself from thinking back. We hope you can remember some of it.

Something for Kate poster by We Buy Your Kids