First celebrated in 2015, Ural Music Night is a multi-genre music festival in Yekaterinburg, Russia, a city located east of the Ural Mountains. The festival is only one night and features local talent as well as artists from more than 20 countries performing everything from classical music, to opera to jazz to rock, punk, rap, EDM, and more across 100 different stages, from parks, to squares, to alleys, to parking lots, to roofs, and even pontoons on the water. 70,000 guests attended the first event in 2015 and 200,000 attended the last one in June of 2018. Both the original and new identities have been designed by Moscow- and Yekaterinburg-based Voskhod.
The festival’s transforming identity changes its character depending on the musical genre. It is based on an image of a street ad poster - where different posters overlap each other and artists, events and genres hurry to change one another.
Every ad poster seems to be assembled from pieces of different posters, and paper contours remind us of the easily recognized silhouettes of the Ural Mountains.
Layers of the posters are informative as well: the main upper layer is about the festival, the middle one is about the venue, the lower layer tells about the musicians and lineup.
I usually like to put presentation videos at the end of the post as a summary but in this case it’s more effective to have it upfront. Sound is a must.
The old logo, also designed by Voskhod, was funky on its own and also had a great identity system around it. Given the young age of the festival, it’s not like it was an established identity so it wasn’t better or worse nor more or less appropriate but simply a different solution to the same challenge. Having said that, the new logo system rocks harder.
The base logo does what it needs to do, which is provide the straight, serious element so that the effusive genre logos stand out. Typeset in the same deadpan 3-line, flush-left configuration in wacky display typefaces, the genre logos embrace their cliché-ness in a fun way and the addition of the conceptual element of the poster tear — that, as a bonus, makes a reference to the Ural Mountains — brings them together in an original, meaningful, and memorable way.
The primary logo uses the “Classical” genre logo as it’s probably the quickest to convey the diversity of the festival as well as the day-to-night(-to-day) transformation of the city for the event. In print/swag applications, the single-color version was the most common and although not as strong with the visual shred it still carried the right energy.
In application, there is a great system where the tears compartmentalize the information: first tear shows the festival branding, second tear shows genre logo and artist name or venue, and the last tear has show information. Perhaps it’s not the most easily accessible information but this isn’t airport signage so a little visual attitude is fine. Conceptually, I love how it works. Graphically, I love how it rocks.
Certainly, the animated GIF makes it a little more dramatic but even the static versions shown in this post or in the festival’s Instagram account, work quite well.
The t-shirt idea is one of the best identity applications of a concept that I have seen in some time — it just works on so many levels. I can’t imagine it being deployed at large scale for all attendees but perhaps for staff. I’m not sure how much of the applications shown were actually produced/implemented with real-life tears — the realist in me thinks not much — but as a general concept and even the flat, faux-tear digital executions, I found this to be joyful, appropriate, exciting, and adventurous.