Johnson Banks designs swift identity for Brighton Festival

Brochure cover for Brighton Festival 2015

Johnson Banks has designed a season-specific identity for Brighton Festival, which this year is guest-directed by author Ali Smith.

After being named as the curator for this year’s festival Smith gave a statement in which she leveled on her role and hinted at her intentions for the festival.

In it she said: “Imagine the world seen from the eye of a bird” and went on to talk about migratory birds and how they view the world as “maps of landscapes with no borders”.

Smith likened flocks of birds to the collaborative potential vested in artists and performers who she saw as coming together to forge “unexpected connections”.

T-shirt  designed by Johnson Banks for Brighton Festival 2015

Johnson Banks has been inspired by her words to create the festival image – a swift in flight – whose form contains a map of Brighton.

Johnson Banks creative director Michael Johnson says he noticed that Smith also “talks specifically about swifts as they migrate to the UK in May. This fits perfectly with the time of year the festival takes place.”

He also felt that swifts were “a great analogy for the artists coming together from all over the world to perform at the festival.”

“As it flies overhead it casts a yellow shadow of the city itself on the ground. The swift graphic is designed with flexibility in mind, to ‘fly’ over various parts of Brighton from the sea, to its parks, to the lanes and streets,” adds Johnson.

Work in progress by Johnson Banks for Brighton Festival 2015

Work in progress by Johnson Banks for Brighton Festival 2015

The principal image features “a harsh contrast of the swift’s vibrant colour against the stark concrete street, perhaps symbolising the diversity of the festival itself,” he says.

In 2013 Johnson Banks rebranded the festival as a whole, creating a new identity system and master-brand.

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