Sydney Writers' Festival
Sydney Writers’ Festival is a beloved celebration of literature and ideas. An annual event, the festival faces the challenge of maintaining momentum – how can it continue to excite people and get audiences back year after year?
For the past several years, they’ve tasked us with developing the identity and campaign for each theme – including a motion piece that captures the hearts and minds of audiences.
2021 – Within Reach
The 2021 festival theme was ‘Within Reach’, which brought to light the power of words to generate imagination, empathy and, ultimately, to keep us together – even when we’re apart.
Whereas previous years had adopted an illustrative approach to the festival, we grounded our response in the power of the written word. By championing a typographically led festival identity we allowed room for authors’ voices to take centre stage.
Conceptually, the identity was both a celebratory embrace of a public festival – as well as an acknowledgment of the awkwardness that accompanied a post-COVID return to in-person events. We explored this theme further in the festival TVC, which centred on an empathetic dialogue about the power of writing.
2022 – Change My Mind
2022’s festival theme, ‘Change My Mind,’ invited audiences to come together with an open disposition and a commitment to generosity. It asked festivalgoers, and the wider community, to embrace respect, compassion and empathy in conversations that challenged their beliefs and perspectives.
Our creative response featured a constantly shifting black-and-white motif that encouraged viewers to look at the festival from a new vantage point. When it came to exploring this idea through motion for a TVC, we imagined a civil argument about the nature of disagreement itself. Through this absurdist lens, we invited audiences to see the power in embracing challenging ideas and holding space for change.
2023 – Stories for the Future
2023’s festival theme – ’Stories for the Future’ – explores how re-examination of the past can change our understanding of the present and, subsequently, impact our collective future.
We explored this idea via the metaphor of a continually folding piece of paper. Seeking to demonstrate how our understanding of the meaning of text can be substantially altered by revealing and concealing fragments of words and sentences.