The Design of Festivals

The Design of Festivals

Festival season is upon us and UK summertime is in full force (overcast and a bit warm). With festivals comes stage arrangements, social campaigns and impressive lighting. Here are a few of our favourite festival designs.



Starting with one of the most iconic British festivals, Glastonbury has a long history of creating experiences for festival goers. During design Manchester last year Kaye Dunnings, the Creative Director of Shangri-La talked about their approach to design.

Shangri-La combines visual and performance art, music, light, sound and AV to create immersive worlds. Championing outsider art and underground culture, Shangri-La takes on a new theme every year. Our favourite was the theme of Shangri-Hell in 2016.

The immersive world included the Shangri La newspaper – The Shangri Liar – which had ‘The best bullshit you’ve ever heard!’ and posters by the cult American street artist Shepard Fairey (famed for the Obama ‘Hope’ poster).

Little green men

Greenman draws in the alternative festival enthusiast to Wales by using a different illustrator each year to set the tone of their social campaigns. The design studio, Bread Collective, have designed the branding of the festival but leave the rest up to an illustrator, giving them a massive amount of freedom.

Last year Norwegian illustrator Sunniva Krogseth talked about making a ‘playful world for adults’ with cute characters. The illustrations capture the hippy vibe of the event and the green surroundings. Loose and messy the drawings demonstrate the festival experience in a whimsical way that photography can’t.

Spice up your type

Not a festival but worth an honourable mention, the Spice Girls visited Manchester last week on their tour. The staging and identity was designed by Kate Moross and her team. Making full advantage of the current trend of the 90s aesthetic, Moross and her team have combined this with bold type to update it for 2019.

The entire set is centred around a globe, portraying the dominance of the Spice Girls in their very own Spice World. The stage includes a ring of walkway, allowing the singers to walk around in orbit and bring in the audience into their atmosphere. Full of nostalgia and powerful colours, the graphics are perfect for the audience who remembers the Spice Girls and grew up with them.


On our doorsteps, You Are Not Alone festival took place in Manchester city centre last month. The festival brought awareness to mental health and raised over £2,500 for Manchester Mind. We branded the festival with loose illustrations centred around reaching out and connecting with other people through music. The typography included a mash of different weights and styles, to show how lots of different people who suffer from mental health can come together, no matter how different they are.

YANA2020 is already underway but you can see our case study here of how we brought to life music and mental health.

Similar posts
Flow Creative
The Red Hat