What I’ve Got: Harvard ARTS FIRST Festival

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I’ve been a volunteer for the Harvard ARTS FIRST Festival for the last two years, and as I enter my third (and final) year working with the festival staff, I’ve become aware of the careful coordination placed into the festival design. Every year, ARTS FIRST chooses a color, which becomes the uniting factor for all design decisions. This year, the color is red, so red highlights fill the program: 

And the t-shirts given to performers, volunteers, and staff are also the same hue of Crimson red, while the staff and volunteer badges share the orange-red color combination and geometric designs found in the program. But what is unique about this year’s design is the fact that ARTS FIRST is celebrating its 25th year anniversary. Rather than overcomplicate the current design, ARTS FIRST decided to simply add a banner celebrating the anniversary:

This banner will similarly consistently appear in the staff badges and the Snapchat filter, which will be available on Saturday (the day of the performance fair). 

What I enjoy about the ART FIRST design is its simplicity, yet effectiveness. The color coordination creates a sense of cohesiveness across the festival, but it also has a practical function: visitors have an easier time finding festival venues and staff for support throughout the festival because they know to look for the (in the case of this year) red signs or shirts. Furthermore, by focusing on changing the color rather than something more complicated with the graphics, ARTS FIRST is able to maintain its logo and brand every year, while looking slightly different each time. The best example is the consistency in the ARTS FIRST t-shirts:

In that way, the ARTS FIRST design is desirable because it allows the festival to maintain branding and cohesiveness, while also remaining distinct. It is ultimately a very functional design.

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