Finally, we can talk about Melbourne Fringe 2007


In March 2007 the studio was appointed to develop the image identity and collateral for the 2007 Melbourne Fringe Festival. This project was an exciting departure from working on an industry based events such as the Fifth Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition 2007 and the Melbourne Design Festival. The 2007 Melbourne Fringe Festival allowed us to apply some of the learnings and insights of working on a specialised event to a project with a broad audience and a diversity of cultural expressions.

A cultural fringe festival is an exciting graphic design and communication brief. By the very nature of being the “fringe“ event on the cultural landscape, there is an expectation for exciting thinking and innovative outcomes.

Andrew (Ashton) had a strong hunch that this year‘s festival identity could be found within the do-it-your-self theme that informs many aspects of modern life. As individuals we are driven to self style, shape and customise our possessions, living spaces, and experiences. The proliferation of DIY content, reality televisions and abundance of choice allows one to enjoy, express and prosper in terms of self expression and self realisation.

Andrew’s hunches needed to be backed up, dismissed, evolved, and or, redirected. So we undertook an intensive research project investigating existing community events, cultural expressions and contemporary social themes. Cheri Uppal (the winner of the 2006 Saxton Scholars spent her week of work experience with the studio) kicked off the research. Shelley and Andrew developed the research and shaped a presentation that explored a theme developed by philosopher Carl Jung — that everyone is a designer.

We presented a mash of ideas that touched on avatars, adult cutie toys, MacPaint, DIY design kits, pixels, default design tools, designing like a non-designer, big dots, more toys, a comedy developed by British actor and comedian Steve Coogan, the colour cyan, a clunky futuristic event brand, a finely developed event typeface and the notion of beautiful ugly.

We wanted a festival image that a school kid, a wayward mum, or earnest businessman with a pair of scissors could produce. We wanted to develop a curious and cute (by true definition) image that offered the public an enguaging alternative to the raft of polite graphic solutions that seem to dominate cultural and public events — a campaign that would bring a smile to Melburnians and its cultural endeavours.

This project has been in the studio for months as it is customary for festival organisers to keep the event design under wraps until until it’s launch 3 to 4 weeks out from the festival. Today Andrew spotted this poster in a tram on the way to a meeting in the city. This tram poster is one of a vast suite of promotional materials produced by the studio including a comprehensive website programme, posters, flyers, apparel, banners, signs, and digital graphics to be rolled out across Melbourne in September and October.

Thank you again to Damien, Georgina, Kath, Gideon, Beau and the rest of the guys at Fringe for supporting this process. We often mention that our clients are our greatest collaborators. During that last six months and the final critical weeks of rolling out this work, (in the throws of moving studio, and long technology drop outs i.e. days of no telephone, computers, or internet) the guys at Fringe kept a level head, developed comprehensive briefs, made swift approvals and allowed us to push outcomes a little further.

Happy Fringe Melbourne.







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  1. Cheri Uppal September 17th, 2007 9:46 am

    I was in St Kilda, walking down Acland st when a pile of Fringe Festival guides caught my eye. I love what you guys have done – great to see the research come to fruition. It looks amazing.