Create Festival was launched in 2010 by London 2012, the Olympic committee charged with ensuring that the Games left a lasting cultural legacy. Every summer, over six weeks, the festival presented 200+ diverse cultural events across the five Olympic host boroughs of east London, from experimental theatre to underwater concerts to architectural walks. As the festival’s creative agency – a role we held for all three years of its existence – we were tasked with giving this huge range of events a strong, cohesive identity, and with marketing these activities not only to culturally engaged Londoners but also to under-engaged communities in some of Europe’s most deprived neighbourhoods.
The first challenge was the banding. We translated the 5 host boroughs into the pentagon shape and range all text to the right (East London) referencing the nautical position of the festival. This also became the concept of our strap-line “the right side of London”
CREATE 2010 was the first year we were the festival’s agency. We were challenged to use a range of media and materials to reach out to the five host boroughs’ vast range of residents, and to learn about their levels of interest, engagement and passion for the arts. We were also inspired by the scope and diversity of the festival’s own activities, from experimental theatre to underwater dance to architectural walks. Communicating this huge range of activity with passion and clarity remains one of our most exciting challenges with CREATE.
Every year the campaign included large-scale billboards, Tube and bus shelter adverts, print ads and online banner ads. We also produced a range of print materials, including booklets and fliers for specific events and venues, and a weekly 24- to 48-page tabloid newspaper for the duration of each festival. Newspapers, booklets and fliers were handed out by street teams and placed in local galleries, coffee shops, libraries, community centres, doctor’s surgeries and laundrettes, to reach Londoners of all backgrounds
Above: Local Hero campaign poster 16 sheet
We designed and built a festival website which hosted 200+ event listings per year, all linked to a custom-built calendar and map, as well as features, photo and video documentation of festival events which we commissioned and edited.
Every spring, it was our job to collate, fact-check, edit and categorise all 200+ events, then begin to organise them for the website using a series of filters we had developed, to ensure visitors weren’t overwhelmed by choice. Our filters covered not only date and location (each event was linked to our custom calendar and mapped by postcode onto our custom interactive map of east London), but also by its art form, event type, price, whether it was family-friendly, and more, to make it simple and rewarding for visitors to find events and plan their schedules.
We updated the site daily throughout each festival season with photos, videos and articles, and we refreshed the site design and refined the search, filter and display functions every year.
Above: website home page, features area, gallery
SPECIAL EVENTS PROGRAMMES
We also produced a range of print materials, including booklets and fliers for specific events that were handed out by street teams and placed in local galleries, coffee shops, libraries, community centres, doctor’s surgeries and laundrettes, to reach Londoners of all backgrounds
We created weekly 24- to 48-page tabloid newspaper for the duration of each festival. They were then distributed across east London, containing the latest listing of events and features and coverage of the festival.
We were in charge of commissioning the photography, covering the events and controlling the production budgets and press passing.
Above: 5 Create newspaper covers, selected page designs
Branding: developed logo, tagline and comprehensive brand usage guidelines
Design & art direction
Online: Planning & consultation, creation of wireframes, UI and UX development, design and creation of custom WordPress templates, enhanced-functionality back end
Print: prepress, print production, print management and press passing for billboard advertising, invitations, brochures, fliers and weekly 24- to 48-page newspapers
Marketing: commissioned and edited photography, video and text