Festival season is upon us! We love festivals as much as anyone else, and while we can talk about line-ups and atmosphere all day long, we would like to focus on something closer to our hearts: graphic design. More specifically, festival graphic design. The thing with festivals is that many of them update their visual identity for every year’s edition, keeping them fresh, interesting, and ready for analysis by us.

Seeing as we are in Romandie, we will take a look at the four main festivals from the region: Caribana Festival, Paleo Festival, Festi’neuch, and Montreux Jazz Festival.

First up is Caribana, a fairly small quaint festival that always brings an interesting lineup:

Where in previous years the festival would have some sort of character/mascot, be it a pirate, a monkey, or a frog, this year organisers went with a simple, minimalistic, and geometric design. It looks clean, sure, but a bit too clean? It certainly loses some of its adventurous spirit.

Next up, Paleo:

For the 40+1st year, they went with anthropomorphic rock fish, which in some ways looks like a development on the people with disembodied limbs from the 40th year. 2016 and 2015 certainly represent a tremendous shift from the previous years, where the visual identity was much more abstract and shape-based. Perhaps this means a new direction?


The last 4 years the style was very consistent, with similar, though not entirely identical, typography. Previous styles also included the idea of repetition, whether it was through reflections or through doubling of the font. It was also very simple in terms of the primary, a single person  (2012 and 2013) or clouds and sea (2014 and 2015). This gets flipped over in 2016. The font is dancing, the image is a crowd of people, and the serene atmosphere is gone.

And finally, Montreux Jazz Festival:

This year’s edition is visually interesting enough that we did not feel we need to make a comparison to previous reasons. Why? It is the 50th edition! The visual style consists of three elements. First, there is the 50, representing, you guessed it, 50 years of the festival. Then there is the logo of the festival. This year, they chose to create it using combination of the visual styles of each previous year. And finally, there are the square images by Greg Léon Guillemin representing this year’s lineup: the teddy bear is Muse, the guys in red hats are Sigur Ros, and the cat in glasses is Gramatik.

So, overall, it’s an interesting year for festival visual styles. Montreux is proudly celebrating 50 years, Paleo is moving in a new direction, and Caribana and Festi’neuch seem to have, at least superficially, switched places. Tastes aside, it is always interesting to take a look how these visual styles progress and to compare them to previous years.

PS, pro-tip: If you are a big festival, with lots of money and the ability to team up with a famous notebook company, please do try to get your grammar right before you produce them 🙂

Tags: , ,


Magda is a dreamer & an enthusiastic writer, in love with turquoise and traveling. She dislikes artichokes, is an avid worker and goals achiever, a proud Romanian and a vintage enthusiast.