& James Gilchrist and Beth Wilson
Graphic Design Festival Scotland
In our final year at university we initiated a design event.
We never really liked lecture halls and felt that the most memorable learning happened outside of university.
We wanted to bring people together, meet the designers who inspire us, have fun and do something exciting, memorable and valuable which we could share with people.
After outlining our aims and inviting some of our favourite creatives the plan quickly grew from a two day event into a week-long programme of workshops, talks, competitions, exhibitions, murals and a programme of music.
For the festival's identity our aims were simply to create something which looked and felt like an established festival and would appeal to our audience of designers.
Given the audience of designers and our need to communicate a lot of info quickly and concisely, we knew creating a type-based identity would be a smart move.
We created simple illustrations to add a visual element which in hindsight were quite infantile. We'd do things differently now but no regrets!
The 2014 festival became an international hub of creativity with 1000+ people participating over five days and around 30,000 people engaging online each week in the run up to the festival and beyond.
Around one third of the people attending the festival travlled from outwith the UK. Predominantly Europe but even some from the states.
Creatives were offered a platform to showcase their work, with 16 receiving work placements across Scotland. The International Poster Competition received almost 3000 entries from more than 50 countries across the world with 80 of these being shortlisted and exhibited in Glasgow.
Our values and aims from day one have been:
– Encourage creative thinking
– Provide an opportunity for people to learn, develop skills and grow
– Promote Scotland as a hub for creativity and design
– Build networks between Scotland and the rest of the world
– Create links between students & industry
– Provide a platform for up-and-coming creatives
– Empower graphic and visual designers
– Build and strengthen a creative community
– Bring graphic design into the public domain
The festival continues and our mission is still the same!
The festival combined learning, collaborating, experimenting, building, playing and socialising. With the launch party and plenty of opportunities to socialise the festival became more than a place to learn and develop but somewhere to meet like-minded people, build connections and enjoy yourself.
We're makers, we love collaboration, we love design and we love socialising so combining these together to create an event felt natural to us.
It's been seven years and we still believe in everything we set out to do.
You can see the digital journey of the festival here: