The London Festival

Design: CDT Design

Design: CDT Design

Now in its 39th year, The London Festival is a three-week-long arts extravaganza, which takes place all over the City during June. Famous, international performers descend on London’s Square Mile and ‘do their bit’ in unusual settings, from the Guildhall to St Paul’s Cathedral, and various other venues to which the great unwashed are usually denied access. It takes in everything, from jazz and classical to walks, architecture, drama and film.

CDT Design first became involved with the festival last year, when it overhauled the identity and all of the marketing material, including posters. The marque CDT came up with is flexible, distilling the raw energy of the event and signifying its diversity. A simple square denotes the Square Mile, but different shapes and colour-ways are used within this frame, occasionally blurred to symbolise the energy emanating from the festival.

For the main poster advertising the 2001 festival, photographer John Edwards was charged with supplying suitable imagery from the remarkable local architecture. The central image is an angel from inside St Paul’s Cathedral, and required wading through a considerable amount of red tape to achieve. ‘Selecting the right image was very important,’ says CDT director Neil Walker. ‘It had to project the brand image and capture the spirit of the festival. We looked at all sorts of angels before deciding on this one.’

The angel sits atop the capital of an engraved column, and there is a flash of fire behind her – the juxtapositions are both visually and symbolically dramatic. But because they are cut out of a white background, the overall effect is clean, crisp and very ‘CDT’. For the type, Walker used a light Helvetica to complement the airy feel of the identity.

‘I like the fact that the edges [between design and advertising] are blurring,’ he says. ‘I’d welcome more cross over and the opportunity to work with good copywriters. We’ve done plenty of four-sheet London Underground posters, but no 48-sheets as yet. I’d like to be given the chance.’

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