Festival UxU

Umeå is the 2014 European "Capital of Culture," and treats audiences and visitors from all around Europe to a year of innovative cultural programming. In July 2014, Festival U x U, an open-source music festival, launched as part of that programming.

The idea behind the open-source festival is simple: the headliners depend on how many attendees buy tickets. More advanced sales equal bigger names and additional days of the festival—a reversal of the typical business model for big festivals.

Bruce Mau Design was tasked with naming as well as designing the visual identity system. As part of our process, BMD invited the same community asked to crowdfund the festival to be part of the conversation around the design as it progressed. BMD and the festival organizers maintained overall creative power, but allowed feedback and collective wisdom to leverage our skills and expertise.

BMD built three very rough sketches that we shared with the festival’s Facebook community. The hope was that feedback from people who had “liked” the festival on Facebook would help steer the brand in a direction informed by the people powering the brand, without losing BMD’s overall perspective.

The completed visual identity system involves a graphic of the letter "U" as a customizable tool, able to transform its design in different contexts.  The "U" visual identity has the capacity to adapt to change as it and the festival both grow in years to come.