Birmingham set to host merged Plus festival

The Plus International Design Festival, a show focusing on typography and graphics, is set to kick off in Birmingham later this year, having just closed its call for entrants.

French architect Alexandre Parré will create the overall design of the festival, organised by exhibition specialists Plus Expo and Typevents. Parré will work on the festival steering group in tandem with three Birmingham consultancies, Clusta, Fluid and 3Form.

Originally four small events in London, Plus is to merge into one large show and move to Birmingham in October, to mark the tercentenary of printer and typefounder John Baskerville, who came from the area.

Consultancies from the UK, the US, Canada and Europe, as well as Iraq and Iran, will showcase their work. Festival organisers are keen to encourage type designers working in alphabets other than Roman to reflect the cultural diversity of the field.

Although in its early stages, the design of the exhibition space will reflect the industrial nature of the venue, a former steel-pressing factory in the city’s Digbeth area. It will comprise conferences, exhibitions, workshops, business forums, seminars and walking tours.

‘The venue is very industrial in its architecture,’ says Caroline Archer, project manager for the festival. ‘We are not trying to disguise that because it is part of what Birmingham is about. It will compare the raw industrial side with the very stylised design highlighted at the festival.’

Exhibitors will be encouraged to push the boundaries of typography and graphic design.

In addition to print-based exhibits, contributors may use design in other media and environments, including two- or three-dimensional, large-scale installations or small-scale displays, screen- or paper-based work, elements such as air or water, or the physical environment.

The event takes place at the Wild Building, Floodgate Street, Digbeth, from 17-21 October. Festival partners include the Chartered Society of Designers, the Design Council and the Design Business Association.

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