Wexford Literary Festival: A New Visual Identity – Part 2

As we discussed in part one the illustration below was constructed through a series of playful stages with no set goal in mind. The process was, however, guided and underpinned by the concept ‘a coming together of like-minded people and ideas.’ Letterforms were ‘brought together’ to form a visually appealing composition. Colour, opacity, scale, texture and pattern were played with to create new and interesting shapes that would become the background illustration for the new identity.


If we zoom into a section of the illustration we start to see the potential it has. This can be used as the backdrop for the new identity, creating new colours and generating creative assets for print and digital applications.

Applying Typography

I chose the typeface Futura to create the illustration because of its geometric letterforms and simplified structure. The overlapping straight lines and circular forms created news forms and colour within the composition. As an extension of this, I decided to use Futura as the primary typeface for the identity including the logotype.

A stacked typographic layout for the logotype was chosen purely for pragmatic reasons – ‘Wexford Literary Festival 2017’ is a long, string of characters and I felt a stacked layout would sit better on a page layout. I added the location and festival date with dividing horizontal rules to create a self-containing block.

At this point, I was happy with the overall structure and layout of the typography but less so with the harsh angles and sharp corners of the letterforms. It seemed too clinical for a celebratory identity and needed to be softened a little.

Manipulating the Typography: Tutorial

The layout was created in Illustrator, so firstly I converted the text to outline before exporting to Photoshop. There, I applied a Gaussian Blur of 1—2 pixels to it.
I flattened the image, went to Adjustments and bumped up the contrast, making sure that the ‘Use Legacy’ box was checked, until the image sharpened again.

The adjusted type was then selected using the Marquee tool and pasted back into Illustrator. Once selected I clicked on ‘Image Trace’, opened the Image Trace Panel and checked the ‘Ignore White’ box. I then clicked the ‘Expand’ button. Then went to Object – Path – Clean Up and checked all three boxes; Stray Points, Unpainted Objects and Empty Text Paths. The result is a vector version of the block of text which has softer feel more appropriate to the tone of the identity. This can now be edited and placed on the illustrated backdrop.


The logotype and backdrop can now be applied to printed and digital assets. The posters below use the backdrop in different ways; filling the entire background and using the backdrop to generate a border. The colour applied to the logotype and text is also taken from the illustration.


In the brochure and programme below the illustration is used to generate a footer, horizontal rules and the colours applied to text and icons.

Below the identity is shown applied to social media platforms; Facebook and Twitter. The profile picture for each one was created by taking the ‘W’ from the logotype and placing it on a square of colour taken from the illustration.

The advantage of this identity is that it is fluid and can evolve over time. Only one part of the illustration has been focused on for this year’s festival. We can concentrate on another section for next years and another for the following year. So it’s slightly different each year but in reality, it’s the same identity. This is great in terms of brand recognition but also reflects the fresh new content the festival has each year.

Part one of the blog can be found here: http://www.burnser.com/blog/index.php/2017/02/20/wexford-literary-festival-a-new-visual-identity-part-1

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