SXSW Graphic Identity
Case Study

SXSW is one of the world’s premiere festivals and destinations for discovery. Its mission is to help creative people achieve their goals by bringing together a series of conferences and showcases—diverse fields such as film, interactive, music, technology and social impact. Even though the SXSW had already undergone a rebrand from a quirky to a more simple approach, our audit revealed an opportunity to explore a more flexible identity system which examines the ideas of global participation and shared ideas more closely. The re-imagined identity supports the brand’s vision by providing a clear, consistent system around which ideas and opinions can be expressed without the aesthetics of the brand getting in the way. On a functional level, this re-imagined approach acts as a way to privilege large amounts of information in all touch point environments.

As the logo no longer carries the personality for the event, the new system counters this by allowing the overall look and feel each year to be determined by user-generated images and content. The challenge was to also think about how to make it functional and flexible rather than being just a stamp that is added to all collateral, which is where the current identity sits. The solution was to create a flexible system to act as a kind of bracket which surrounds the subjects and content of its various activities In this sense, the identity is intended to be anti-authoritarian, truly user-generated and invite participation from the global community.


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