First celebrated in 1954, the Sydney Film Festival (SFF) is an annual competitive film festival that takes place over the course of 12 days in June in various venues across Sydney, Australia. Screening more than 200 films, SFF then selects 12 winning films representing “courageous, audacious and cutting-edge” cinema. Recently completed, the 2019 edition of the festival featured a new identity designed by local firm For the People.
The old logo was okay, with a sans serif featuring a glowing “D” that I’m guessing was meant to look like a bright screen inside a dark theater. The “D” was a strange letter to make the hero but it’s the only fully fillable letter in the name. The new logo is another sans serif, Agrandir, which is slightly quirky and odd — not so much in the specific characters that appear in the name but the rest of them, especially the lowercase are pretty interesting. In principle, there isn’t much to the logo so if it leaves you wanting more, there are at least 30 other logos in this identity that might satisfy you.
Referencing 1970s to 1990s film and TV production logos with a filter of those logos being played on Betamax and VHS tapes, the identity system uses a very wide range of totally gratuitous but totally awesome logos to promote and present the festival and all of its films. I love how they categorized the logos into buckets like “screen”, “sound”, “associations”, and “miscellaneous”, capturing all the different logos you would see in the opening credits and end titles of a movie. It’s tempting to give an opinion on each logo but, honestly, y’all don’t pay me enough… kidding. The point of the logos isn’t their individual execution — it helps that they are all pretty much on point — but the overall effect they create: a weird, micro-universe where all aspects of a movie are handled by an SFF conglomerate. The animations are fantastic with their jagged and jumpy motion as if they had been done on the Scanimate.
The applications are fairly straightforward in the sense that it’s always a big logo at the top with the date, followed by type or a film frame, followed by secondary logos, followed by official sponsor logos, and done, all in a justified layout. They pack a punch though, with the bold color palette and density of elements.
The ads and other promotional items also display a wry sense of humor, sometimes delivered in a simple headline and sometimes in the style of “The following preview has been APPROVED by…” rating green screens. They are good but I wonder if the copywriting could have been pushed beyond some of the obvious jokes. Nonetheless, it all plays very well with the film-universe theme they have going on.
Overall, this is a highly entertaining identity that fits a film festival quite well and has been executed with plenty of conviction and an evident sense of glee.