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Crowd sourcing a visual identity
for one of Europe’s biggest
graphics arts festival
Crowd sourcing a visual identity for one of Europe’s biggest graphics arts festival

Pick Me Up
Graphics Arts Festival

Somerset House
April 2016

The Story

The seventh incarnation of the renowned graphic arts festival returned with the celebration of graphic design at Somerset House.

Aimed at being the antithesis of a traditional art fair but with a heavily-themed festival agenda, we were asked to create a visual identity that is consistent, engaging and interactive.

Responding to the brief, we set out to co-create the festival’s identity with the public and the collaborative design became as diverse as Pick Me Up’s huge creative community - further enhancing this year’s Utopia theme.

The Brief

We were invited to respond to this year’s Utopia theme, inspired by the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s inspirational text.

The idea of celebrating community within the graphic arts was already manifested in the festival’s eclectic line-up of both budding and bonafide artists; but we wanted to harness the energy a bit further with our very own utopian vision: to co-design the festival’s identity with and for the public.

We started testing on interactive devices and the idea germinated and slowly grew into a digital tool that would allow the public to contribute to the displays and marketing collateral across the festival.

Learn With Hato - a series of workshops on design, publishing and production - which threads the collaborative vibe of the festival together.

The solution

Users were given the interactive letter tool which enabled them to create and submit their own letterforms upon landing on Pick Me Up’s website. They were given a single character to start out with and with a few clicks and drags, these could then be morphed into dots and dotted lines, refined or obscured in all kinds of weights, widths, and sizes.

Each letterform is malleable: it can be pushed, pulled and twisted, made light or dense.

This wall became the voice of the graphic arts community, further enhancing the utopia theme of the festival.

This wall became the voice of the graphic arts community, further enhancing the utopia theme of the festival.

The Outcome

A rich library of 3,000 co-designed letters were generated from the digital installation within the first few weeks which were then applied to publications, marketing collateral and signage across the festival, as well as being downloadable and shareable for all contributors.

The design-led project also captured critical data and opinions from visitors: they were asked to respond to a question regarding graphic arts via a tablet, such as: ‘Do you think printed magazines have had their day in a digital age?’ Once submitted, the answers were added to the animated gallery being projected. This wall became the voice of the graphic arts community, further enhancing the utopia theme of the festival.

A full, bespoke workshop schedule was delivered specifically for Pick Me Up including classes on riso-printing, bookbinding and typeface-designing, which threads the collaborative vibe of the festival together.

“I have to say that the Pick Me Up identity was amazing! It worked on absolutely every level, completely refreshing PMU’s identity, making it different, modern, relevant and engaging and reflecting exactly what PMU is about.”

Claire Catterall
Director of Exhibitions and Learning
Somerset House