Finalist 2020

Melbourne International Jazz Festival Brand and Campaign


Make room for the past while bringing in the future.

The Melb Int’l Jazz Fest is a world-class jazz festival that has been held annually in Melbourne Australia since 1998. They take the underground above ground, showcasing and celebrating jazz culture by leading international artists alongside leading and emerging local talent.

For the past 3 years Motherbird has worked to reinvigorate the festival identity, giving it a new lease on life to be a standout amongst a crowded Melbourne festival scene. The preconceived notions of jazz needed to be shattered and put on an exciting new path.

The brief: Make room for the past while bringing in the future.

Design Excellence

At its core Jazz is a genre for everyone; it is about improvisation, interpretation and experimentation. Despite the origins of jazz and those that play it, jazz can often be seen as exclusive. With an audience in Melbourne spanning different cultures, tastes and socio-economic backgrounds we wanted to ensure the brand was reflective of all those who enjoyed jazz. This was a changing of the guard moment, a time to welcome in the new age of jazz musicians and attract new audiences to this dynamic and diverse genre of music.

Design Impact

A key objective for the festival brand was to eliminate the stigma of jazz being an exclusive and stuffy style of music. At this moment in time there’s an undercurrent of exciting fusion jazz happening globally and the goal was to capture this and build a new, youthful audience and direction for jazz in Melbourne and across Australia. The brand encourages people to take part in the evolving genre of jazz, no matter their background, taste or experience. It’s been incredibly rewarding as a studio to be part of this transformation phase of one of this city’s great events.

Design Transformation

Melbourne is a city full of culture; art, food, sport and of course music. The Melb Int’l Jazz Fest hosts some of the world’s best musicians at this truly global event, and internationally it helps put this great city on the map. The brand identity plays an important role in presenting Melbourne as a premier music destination to the world. The investment in design and creativity through the brand identity flows throughout the festival, presenting it as a high-quality cultural event for the city.

Design Innovation

The biggest challenge with event design in Melbourne is cutting through the noise. With several festivals titled Melbourne International “insert name” Festival we decided to cut to the chase and focus on the purpose of the festival – jazz, and so the “Melb Int’l Jazz Fest” was born.

The creative strategy ‘undeniably jazz’ was established and carried through to the brand identity which is unforgiving in its repetitive typographic messaging, filling the city with anticipation that music was around the corner. Elitist language was avoided, delicate typesetting was dodged and pretentious images were binned… a festival for all.

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