First celebrated in 1946, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) is one of the oldest film festivals in the world and the largest and most important in Central and Eastern Europe. The festival takes place in Karlovy Vary, a picturesque spa town in the Czech Republic and attracts over 11,000 audience members along with 300 directors, filmmakers, and actors; 800 distributors and agents; and 700 journalists. It is a competitive film festival — as accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations — and presents 200 films from around the world. The identity for the festival changes each year and since 1995 it has been designed by Prague, Czech Republic-based Studio Najbrt.
The 53rd edition’s visuals suddenly return to a simple typography that builds on nostalgia for celluloid, or more generally, analog. [We] hid number 53 in the classical film perforation.
The previous two identities for the festival had revolved around photography with the logo and typography in more of a supporting role. Both were pretty great, especially the 2016 edition where all the subjects in the photographs were depicted as hiding from the paparazzi. This year, it was all about the typographic “53” that was created from an abstracted film strip where its perforations form the tiny counterspaces that shape the numbers. And it is brilliant. Sure, it’s unconventional and relatively difficult to read but for an audience of cultured film-festival-goers it’s perfectly fine. The “53” is paired with Neue Haas Grotesk, which serves as the straight man in this duo.
The applications are deceivingly simple with the “53” shown horizontally or stacked, accompanied with minimal (in style and quantity) typography, and all in a black, red, and white color palette. The “5” and the “3” can stretch and contract to fill each layout and while it works best when the numbers are a wider ratio, the effect works even when they are more square.
Forget the merch. I want the merch poster. And the socks.
In terms of impact and visibility, the struggle isn’t real for this identity as it stands out for miles and days.
Things get a little questionable when they try to make more letters out of the film strip concept but, still, commendable of both the client and the designers to go for it. Overall, as a one-time identity for a film festival — as opposed to a long-term corporate identity — this is pretty much perfect with a relevant concept that turns a cliché into an exciting visual system.