2017 NZ International Comedy Festival

496 word Comedy Festival Environmental Graphics Blurb.
A festival works best when it has a hub, an epicentre where the energy of the festival coalesces. An area where people duck in and out of venues and can stand around and talk about their experience of the shows. For the NZ International Comedy Festival, that’s the Comedy Fest Precinct, the area encompassing the Classic Comedy Club, Q Theatre, The Basement theatre, and by extension the whole upper Aotea Square/Townhall area. 

Our design challenge is to make that precinct clear and vibrantly delineated. During the day, our environmental graphics remind the central city's ample foot traffic that the Comedy Fest is under way. But once night falls it serves as a beacon for those coming in from the suburbs to catch a show, trying to find venues and navigate through the bustling crowds. Over 100,000 comedy fans come into the city to see shows over the 3 week span of the festival. They need to brave the bustling crowds to find the right venue and get seated before the lights go down, and our signage helps streamline that task, while putting a smile on peoples faces in the process. 

Brevity is the soul of wit according to Shakespeare, and so our challenge was to create an engaging awareness campaign that communicates graphic wit that people understand at a glance as they walk past. Kiwi comedy is diverse, but still has it's own distinctive voice. As evidenced by the success of acts like Flight Of The Conchords and Rhys Darby, we do deadpan well. It often trades in the domain of radical honesty, stating the thing that’s right in front of you, and perhaps making you see it in a new light. 

So we decided that’s exactly what we'd do, stating the obvious to the viewer, but delivering it with graphic urgency, forcing a juxtaposition between the dynamism of the delivery and the banality of the copy. It takes a poster and tells you it's a poster, it breaks the fourth wall you get taught so often as an artist not to break, and tells you exactly where you are. 

Artifice is stripped away in favour of comical, ridiculous deadpan humour, like only we kiwis can deliver. We play with the irony of a mundane message delivered with exuberance and urgency. It's silly and fun, but also slick and well crafted. 

The faux 3D of the treatment leaps of the pavement or the wall, loudly proclaiming the comedy domain. Using our simple black, white and yellow colour combination, consistent branding and signature humour, we leave audiences in no doubt they're in the right place. The well established but newly refreshed 'laughman' logo provides recognition and brand continuation from previous campaigns. Our versatile environmental graphics approach appears across extensive outdoor media from floor and window vinyl decals to street posters, billboards and banners, each with it's own unique, humorously tailored massage: a perfect blend of variety and consistency.

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