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New Work: Sundance Film Festival 2013

Today filmmakers, studio executives and film fans from all over the world will converge on Park City, Utah, for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. For the second year running Pentagram’s Paula Scher has designed the identity for the Festival. This year’s graphics use bold, hand-drawn arrows to convey Sundance’s mission of taking film in a new direction and the idea that anything is possible.

Sundance is largest independent film festival in the United States and one of the premier showcases for film in the world. Produced by the non-profit Sundance Institute, founded by the actor and director Robert Redford, the Festival has been instrumental in launching the careers of directors like Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, and Darren Aronofsky. This year’s Festival will present 119 feature-length films, representing 32 countries and 51 first-time filmmakers, including 27 in competition. (Benh Zeitlin’s newly Oscar-nominated “Beasts of the Southern Wild” took the Grand Jury Prize last year.)

The Festival usually has a stated theme—last year’s tagline was “Look Again”—but this year it wanted to try a simple, modern idea that was purely visual. Pointing in every direction, the hand-drawn arrows capture the energy and excitement of the Festival.

Scher and her team created a flexible visual language around the arrows that includes a range of arrows drawn in different shapes, sizes and directions. The arrows can be combined with photographs of the Festival’s natural surroundings or stills from the featured films, superimposed over full images or reversed out to frame different shots or points of view. The arrows can be used to provide emphasis or direction, or arranged in graphic patterns. The team also created a full hand-lettered alphabet for Festival typography.

Red is the primary color of the Festival graphics; the team designed a second version in yellow for Sundance London, an offshoot scheduled for April.

The designers created a film guide and series of posters for the Festival, and the graphics will appear on banners and billboards around Park City, in bumpers shown before the films, on the Festival website and official merchandise. As part of a Sundance tradition, Scher created an official poster for the Festival (the red version) that is available for purchase.

Scher and her team are currently designing a new identity for the Sundance Institute, the producers of the Festival, set to launch later this year.

Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Ludwig Janoff and Kayla Jang, designers.