Guest blogger Bart Weiss is director of the Video Association of Dallas and VideoFest. He sends this post along about the process of designing the festival’s promotional materials.
As director of VideoFest – the festival formally know as the Dallas Video Festival for 22 years – one of the highlights of the year is when I see the concepts that our designers come up with for the festival. Design is so important – when I think about past festivals, I think of the poster images. We have been lucky enough to get the most incredible design work every year. And we have had not one but TWO gallery shows of our video festival posters.
Our fest is a bit different than others, and all the elements we bring in help to place the audience in context. We stress about everything from the T-shirts to the intro (two years ago we did a program of nothing but intros from festivals around the world) to the look of the spaces we have (we are going to have a cool video cafe space this year). The little things mean a lot to us.
So getting back to my joyous moment each year. I think about the video festival all year – to me, it is one of the ways I think about the world. (Even the world coming to an end. That may be a joke, but we did have a war declared on opening night one year, and it most certainly did affect the fest.)
So while I know what I think about the festival, I think in terms of videos, spaces, people and ideas. When I walk in that room and see an artist interpret my thoughts in compelling images, it gives me a big rush and helps me understand what I am doing. And in some ways, I understand myself better.
Last year and this year, we’ve been lucky enough to have SullivanPerkins do our design work. Usually I am presented with four or five ideas; this year there were well more than that. The submissions from each year were great. For about a week and a half, I carry them around wherever I go and ask everyone which they like best. It is one of the hardest decisions of the year. But the result is magnificent. Last year’s was particularly tough, because the image had to convey that the festival was in two parts: one part the classic festival and the other a selection of video art called “the program” that we screened in the months heading up to the festival weekend. The image (at the top of the post) is complex, integrating ideas of relaxing, images of looking, and painting with light and color. The first three rows below are some of the images that we really liked for this year, but ultimately weren’t the one. The first one on the bottom row is last year’s image, and the final image (the red one) is this year’s choice:
Combined with the text, the total packages of these posters give a sense of what the festival is about in ways much more powerful that I could explain.
Indeed, that is what good design is.