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Riverfest Limerick: Creating an illustrated identity

2 May

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For the last fifteen years, Riverfest has marked the beginning of summer in Limerick city. Every May Bank Holiday weekend thousands make their way to the Banks of the Shannon River to celebrate with BBQ competitions, water sports, fashion shows and too many other things to list here. This is a festival that sets the people of Limerick alight with excitement.

Illustrating the festival

When tasked with creating the identity for the 2019 festival, we knew that we wanted to capture this energy in our work. This is not a festival of just music or food, but rather a medley of entertainment and activities, so our work needed to target a diverse and multifaceted audience and entice them into the city to celebrate together.

We developed a suite of playful and vibrant illustrations that work well with the existing brand and could communicate the full spectrum of what’s on offer over the weekend. Due to the modular nature of these designs we could combine these isolated illustrations into united scenes, over a host of printed and digital pieces. This method of workflow expedited the design process and allowed for variation and improvisation in our final designs.

Translating these still images into moving animations came naturally, as they were already suggestive of movement and had a certain energy about them. Our animation workflow was much the same as for our static design. We animated individual elements that could then be introduced into a larger scene; again this sped up the process and afforded us great flexibility when creating assets for digital platforms as we could combine a large number of animations to create a great and lively scene, or choose to isolate a single piece and champion it individually.

How to make a barbeque spin

About half way through the animation process we faced a challenge: depth. How do we imply three-dimensional movement with a two-dimensional illustration, or more simply put, how do we make a barbeque spin? There is no quick fix with such an issue, we worked frame-by-frame, ensuring we had a smooth and natural movement. The resulting animations were some of our favourites from the entire project.

Social media implementation

The final illustrations and animations had great potential for use on social media. We created a suite of still and animated social assets with a variety of implementations across platforms, including both native and advertising content. We adapted the scenes to create assets for Instagram stories and feeds, as well as native Facebook and Twitter posts, and Facebook weblink ads. The assets successfully engaged a large, diverse audience, as well as bringing energy and colour to the campaign and brand.

The system we created allows for variation while retaining a cohesive and recognisable identity that lives across a multitude of platforms and formats. At its heart this identity is fun, as a festival should be.

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