Primary Works’ fluid identity for New Annual represents the vibrant creativity of Newcastle, AU
After COVID-19 got the institution off to a rocky start, the ten-day festival of arts, dance, music and performance New Annual, located in Newcastle, Australia, has become a thriving day in the country’s cultural calendar. Responding to the theme of ‘made new,’ Sydney-based design and strategy studio Primary Works crafted a technologically inventive, fluid identity for New Annual’s 2022 event – harnessing typographic functionality and the shifting expression of dancer Lilian Steiner to create an abstract, amorphous visual language. A feat made possible by a partnership with Melbourne-based 3D studio Kaleido.
“We liked the idea of using a dancer to represent the festival, as dance is a nice meeting point between all artistic disciplines,” Founder Ross Paxman tells us, discussing the creative collaboration with Steiner. “However we didn’t want to be too literal with her representation,” he adds, “keeping it abstract helps the campaign speak to all art forms equally,” finding a graphic strength in the conceptual visualisation of creative energy. “Newcastle also has a very vibrant arts scene and is well known for street art,” Paxman recalls, “so we liked that the liquid form also worked as a burst of something paint-like, colouring and enlivening the city.”
The kaleidoscopic expression of colour within New Annual’s fluid motif is emboldened through its powerful contrast with the surrounding monochromatic palette, providing an assisting structure to highlight the artists within the programme rather than visually compete. “We wanted to tap into a more sophisticated side of Newcastle,” Paxman remarks, reflecting the elevated, contemporary context of the festival, “steering away from the rainbow of colours often used by arts festivals and towards something more restrained and singular,” he explains, noting themes similarly expressed through the use of Klim Type Foundry’s expansive Söhne type family. Opting primarily for Söhne’s extended, extra-bold cut, the resulting typographic execution is slick and timeless, conveying a neutral flexibility that encapsulates the festival’s intrinsically supportive nature.