CutOut Fest is the biggest international animation and digital art festival in Latinamerica, year by year host it's the main event in the beautiful city of Querétaro, México curating artist from all around the globe and screening the best selection of both categories alongside a bunch of activations, and installations. I was really honored to be chosen by the committee to work for them as the core artist for the visual communication at their 8th edition in 2016.
Inspired by my questions about what does it makes something 'international'? what does animation mean nowadays? what does the festival meant to the audience? I really wanted to avoid any cliché of: "oh well, it's international because we host artists from other countries", I took this project as personal and I really wanted to cover any communication aspect in one piece; for the audience, for the artists, for the international speakers, for the staff, and for myself.
In brief: design a graphic language divided into 2 tiers,
1- 'calling for entries' part graphic applications for printing and social media that could be able to adapt to an animated spot.
2 - 'festival' part; evolving tier 1 for any application related to the festival purposes, from the stage to the welcome kit.
The festival had used the 'view master' as a flag as long as the festival has existed, and they also wanted to not change the logo. I started by breaking the rules with the logotype but respecting what I thought it was most recognizable to them: the view master.
I designed the main illustration knowing that I don't consider myself an illustrator, it just made more sense for me as an element that could easily be attractive for the audience as well as captivates other curious people, almost like a crossword I decided to hide information in within the illustration in reward of their curiosity.
The illustration features 5 hidden gems expressing the complexity of the word "international" and how regardless of nationality, culture or language, visual language is King. Is a character made out of three races, one of each represents past, present and future in the conception of animation. 1.- An orange-tanned arm with a Mickey Mouse glove, 2.- an arm representing animation in Asia, with an RGB nail polish, 3.- African-American legs, 4.- a scratched sign, and 5.- 8 rays coming from the view master that represents each year of the festival.
I always have loved the pinup work of Gil Elvgreen, for a time in the past I was obsessed with the surrealism action of mix-matching legs and objects, and as I just said, 'I took this personal' telling Myself - 'If everything goes wrong in this project and I disappointed everyone, I'm going to create something that at least I can hang on my walls'.
I started the wordmark with a regular calligraphic brush exercise, the committee was really clear to keep their old one, but brush scripts is another thing that I consider relevant in my work and daily design routines. I overlapped both wordmarks, one informing the other and I think it worked!.
Typographically, I took vintage movie posters titles as a reference, I wanted to give the festival a proper air of a nostalgic golden-era festival, I like the mix of letterforms and typographic hierarchies, this was the base design for a set of custom letters that then became the typography of the festival. Finally, two hand-lettering pieces for the number of the edition (8th) and the legend for the festival dates were crafted almost intentionally imperfect since I wanted to flip the coin in my abilities and this piece to be consider an illustration and not a typographic expression as everyone was expecting from me.
The image below shows an earlier exploration around textures that could be used in applications, didn't make it to the end, but I really think this was relevant for a graphic language usage, branding-wise.