Contributed by John Clifford of NYC-based Think Studio.
Think Studio designed a cohesive identity system for the inaugural season of Extraordinary Moves, an 8-day dance festival in New York City that included The Dancer Films by Judy Dennis, a Jules Feiffer drawing exhibition, and live performances by STREB, Australia’s Strange Fruit, Michael Moschen, and Third Rail Projects.
The design possibilities were wide open, but we were on a tight schedule with a limited budget. Imagery from the eclectic lineup did not work, as it was too specific and did not reflect the breadth of the festival. So, we had the name, and a tagline: A Celebration of Dance through Movement, Film, and Art.
For concepts, we focused on movement. We looked at ways to accomplish this without imagery: abstract spirals, whirling shapes, pinwheels, and graphic arrows, combined with big, bold type. While these all looked dynamic and striking, we didn’t think people would quickly get that this was a dance festival. So, we researched stock photography. The strongest designs were clearly the ones with the colorful, transparent arrows layered on cropped black-and-white photos of arms, legs, and torsos in movement. And, some of those movements certainly look extraordinary to us!
All graphic elements and type were placed at an angle to reinforce the idea of movement. A bright and warm color palette of magenta, red, orange and yellow reflects the lively mood of the festival.
The visuals were applied to banners, flags, program guides, signs, plasma screens, and print and online advertising. A fun component was seven separate banners combined to form a single message—it was great to see our work at that scale.
Extraordinary Moves is co-presented by the World Financial Center and River to River Festival. Attendance was much higher than expected, which we’d love to credit solely to the design. In the words of the review in This Week in New York, it was “simply dazzling.”
Creative direction and design: John Clifford
Design: Jon Lee
Photography: Image Source/Getty Images