Music festival branding – the evolution of Glastonbury
After a year off, this summer sees the return of Glastonbury festival! Whether we’re attending or not, we all love to check out the branding used each year.
Towards the end of last year, organisers revealed the new Glastonbury logo and artwork for the 2019 festival, provided by Designer Stanley Donwood who has been responsible for most of the festival’s branding since 2002. The 2019 logo is a refresh of the 2017 logo, with a new font and the addition of a moon into the hole of the “o”.
A beautiful piece of artwork has also been designed titled “The Shelter of Dream” featuring the Glastonbury Tor hill and a distant St. Michael’s Tower under a moonlit sky. The artwork appears on the website and is likely to be printed on various pieces of merchandise.
Glastonbury Festival branding through the years
This will be the 35th festival and over the year the festival and branding have changed quite significantly! From the first festival in 1970 where the entrance price for 1,500 attendees was £1 each and kindly included free milk from the farm, up until the last festival in 2017 in which around 175,000 people attended. We’ve highlighted a few key moments for the Glastonbury brand – the good, the bad and the ugly ( sorry Glastonbury!)
Not yet know as “Glastonbury Festival” this was the logo and festival poster for “Pop, Folk and Blues.”
From 1971 the festival was known as “Glastonbury Fayre” and the very first version of the infamous pyramid stage was built. Below is the logo that was created for the 1979 festival.
In 1981 it first became “Glastonbury Festival” and attendees rocketed to 18,000. This was the first year of many that they supported the peace movement Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The logos and artwork over these years always included the CND logo. It was also this year that the pyramid stage was rebuilt into a more permanent structure.
A new logo was created for the 1983 festival and the same logo was also used the following year. A brighter colour palette and a litho style of printing.
In 1989 it looked like there was too much to fit onto the poster! This seemed to be a common theme for the next decade or so!
In 1990 the festival adopted the name of “Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts” to reflect the diverse offerings within the festival. The previous year’s logo was adapted and the poster was given a family-friendly approach to it. This logo was used right up until the millennium.
And enter Stanley Donwood who was appointed to design the 2003 logo and poster. Quite an improvement on the previous years!
2015 – 2019
2017 is probably my favourite poster so far, I love the typography and bright multi colours. You can tell that much more thought has been put into the layout and structure of the page.
Each year most festivals will change some aspects of their branding, they only happen once a year so this allows them to tweak their branding to adapt to current trends or themes. It’s unlikely a festival will completely change their look, they still want to appear recognisable to their target audience. For instance for the past decade or so Stanley Donwood has been responsible for the logo, posters and all sorts of printed collateral for Glastonbury Festival. The branding is something that all Glastonbury attendees would instantly recognise and the type of artwork that is eagerly anticipated each year by fans of the festival.
Brand consistency isn’t just achieved by slapping your logo onto every piece of marketing collateral. The user journey is key, from the initial announcement on social to the signage at the festival. It is important that the brand flows seamlessly through every touchpoint. Everyone who interacts with your brand will form an impression of it, therefore creating a consistent brand experience is crucial. Brand consistency doesn’t just stop at the creative elements of the brand, everything from the music line up to the food that is served has to be reflective of your brand.
- The importance of user journey consistency when designing social ads
- The importance of responsive brands and logos
- A new website and branding for Waterside Parks
Our favourite festival branding
Thousands of festivals take place in Britain each year, each with their own unique branding. Even if I’m not attending the festival I always look forward to how the festivals will brand themselves this year as often organises aren’t afraid to change the style of their branding. Here are a few of my favourite brands this year.
Each year the Parklife website is updated and it’s never a disappointment. It’s a party on a page and this year there’s fireworks, disco balls, boats and palm trees. I especially like all the different styles of hand-drawn fonts they have used this year and the bright colour palette.
I love the bright colours used across the Splendour site and the fun illustrations really make this festival feel like a festival for all!
All Points East
Keeping away from the trend of illustrations, All Points East has opted for a more typographic and photography approach. I really like bold typography and how it overlaps the photography.
I love the simplicity of the typographic LoveBox logo and the bright colour scheme of the site.
Our top 5 festival branding tips
- Each year revisit your brand. You don’t have to be big changes but small tweaks will keep it looking fresh and exciting.
- Your logo will appear on a range of collateral, consider how it will look blown up big on a poster or in a small space like a wristband.
- Make sure the brand is consistent across every touch point.
- Give yourself plenty of time, this will allow you to build hype up early and get your audience excited and familiar with your brand.
- Your audience is key – an audience that is into heavy metal isn’t likely to be drawn to the same branding you may use for say a dance music festival.
Branding a festival uses the same principles and considerations you would use for any other branding project. All the tips we have mentioned above can be applied to any business. One thing Festival branding is really successful at is reflecting the atmosphere and experience of the festival, this should also be the case with any other brands, when you see a logo or brand you should immediately associate it with a feeling or expectation. For example, the Volvo brand can be associated with safety, and McDonald’s can be seen as cheap, fast and consistent.