Play On Play’s identity for the 2021 Melbourne Music Week celebrates the joy of post-lockdown music
Presented by the City of Melbourne, Melbourne Music Week is an annual event that has showcased local talent for over a decade, bringing people together in a celebration of music. In 2021, after surviving one of the longest lockdowns in the world, Melbourne and its thriving music scene were set to re-open. For such a unique moment in the city’s history, it was essential to capture this in the identity’s design. Play On Play were commissioned to visually imagine the festival’s rebirth in 2021, which centred around the theme of ‘emerging.’ The studio – led by passionate music fans and born and raised Melbournians Naomi Akikusa-Dawber and Lucy Fry – were a perfect match for the project.
The main headline artist, SHOUSE, was selected following the huge international success of their single ‘Love Tonight.’ The song, known as a lockdown anthem for many, became the score of the event. Play On Play’s identity further showcases the artists as a key visual throughout the branding – who are more important than ever following a time that was devastating for the music industry and gig-goers alike.
Explaining their choice of type, Akikusa-Dawber and Fry inform us that the typeface is a modified version of Tex Gyre Heros Condensed. “For the purpose of this year’s festival,” they tell us, “we were given permission to use an alternative typeface to MMW’s pre-defined typeface – Replica.” The rest of the identity is pared back, with a simple yet powerful graphic of an oval with an emerging ‘2021.’ Behaving as a motif, the date and oval represent the re-opening of the city, with the text emerging from the unknown ‘grey area’ into a bright and colourful future.
Following the brand’s pre-established guidelines for the festival, the designers were challenged to build a fresh and unique palette around the hero purple colour. “Conceptually, the other colours were added to represent ‘emerging into a bright and colourful future,’” the pair recall. “We wanted these colour choices to feel fresh and unusual, so we drew inspiration from current runway fashion palettes and artists such as Josef Albers and Rothko.” This unconventional direction follows the brief, which aimed to showcase Melbourne's cultural diversity, therefore appealing to a younger and wider demographic. “As it was the first live music festival following the lengthy Melbourne lockdown,” they continue, “it was vital for the festival to have as much visibility as possible.” The choice to use multiple colours ensured more engagement as well as less repetition across digital platforms, ideal for the young Melbournians ready to embrace live music again.
Tex Gyre Heros Condensed (customised) by Boguslaw Jackowski and Janusz Nowacki