Best in Category - Communication Design 2020

Isol-Aid Festival Posters

Sebi White

Isol-Aid is an Instagram Live music festival started by the Australian music community at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For each weekend festival for (as of writing) the last 27 weekends, Sebastian White has designed and illustrated a unique poster advertising the acts participating in that edition of the festival. Each poster illustrates a theme of popular culture from the pandemic-induced isolation, such as: panic-bought items like toilet paper, sanitizer and pasta; jigsaws; home DIY; baking supplies and more.

Design Excellence

The artistic and creative direction for the branding of Isol-Aid had to be implemented and curated within a matter of three days. A reliable format and visual language of textures and minimal colours allowed the door to be opened on a potentially continuous festival with a consistent, recognisable look. The posters continue to be an exciting prospect for fans and newcomers to the festival, as each one presents a cheeky but charmingly familiar take on life in isolation, as the artworks themselves have become as integral to the festival as the artists themselves.

Design Impact

  • Isol-Aid has showcased more than 720 artists over 27 weeks, and in its opening weekend was featured across news and media outlets such as the ABC, Triple J, NME, Broadsheet, and the Guardian.
  • Spurred on by White\’s unique creative and artistic direction, Isol-Aid has amassed a social media following of more than 60\’000
  • The posters have been inducted into the Melbourne Museum\’s permanent collection.
  • The posters have been acquired to be displayed at the Australian Music Vault in the Melbourne Arts Centre.

Design Transformation

The effects of COVID-19 plunged the global music industry, as countless other industries, into an unexplored cave of the unknown. Concerts were cancelled, tours unheard of. The idea of a music festival, suddenly so foreign. Isol-Aid provided a small hope in that performers were given a platform to project their art, and the help provided by this consistently themed series of posters was to continue to push that boat along the river: this wasn\’t a one-weekend event, this is an ongoing aid to help our flailing music industry and it\’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Design Innovation

These posters solved a unique brief in the lightning-fast creation of a homegrown music festival, participated in by dozens upon dozens and broadcast to thousands, with the potential of continuing to do so for many weeks to come. There are so many aspects to the social isolation of 2020 that we all begrudgingly share, and this poster series presented an opportunity to take a wryly humorous look at those panic-bought items, or new technological habits, or desperately unentertaining board games and present them in a new endearing light, while promoting some of the country\’s most wondrous talents in music.

Other Key Features

  • The festival donated all of its proceeds from the first dozen editions to Support Act, a charity created in order to raise money for out-of-work creatives in the music industry, and Isol-Aid continues to allocate 100% of donations straight to the artists and their teams.
  • Two extra poster designs were created for two spin-off festivals, one of which was created purely to showcase artists with disabilities.

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