Graphic Design Festival Scotland

Graphic Design Festival Scotland is a forward-thinking programme of workshops, talks, exhibitions, panel discussions, live projects, urban murals and music. 2016 marks the most ambitious programme of the festival that takes place in Glasgow October 17 to 23. Initiators Beth Wilson and James Gilchrist (Warriors Studio) took time to answer some questions.

Why are you organising Graphic Design Festival Scotland?

There is a whole list of reasons for us to organise this festival. We want to:

  • Encourage creative thinking
  • Provide an opportunity for people to learn, develop skills and grow
  • Promote Scotland as a hub for creativity and design
  • Bring international creatives from across the world to Scotland
  • Create links between students & industry
  • Provide a platform for up-and-coming creatives
  • Empower graphic and visual designers
  • Build and strengthen a creative community
  • Bring graphic design into the public domain

Tell me about your path to becoming an festival organiser.

Beth and I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2014 but began planning the festival during our final year of studies. We wanted to organise a 1 or 2 day event and invited designers who's work we were inspired by and it quickly snowballed from there. We are extremely grateful for what that event has become.

How does organising a design festival influence your design practice?

Organising a festival means that we are constantly surrounded by incredible designers and people we are inspired by, I suppose that can only be a positive thing.

Through the festival, we have also made a lot of friends and are lucky enough to be able to ask for advice and support where necessary. We recently asked Kate Moross for some advice regarding Intellectual Property, as knowing that she works with a lot of musicians and large brands, it would be something she could help us with. Cheers Kate!

Does your design practice influence the organisation of the festival?

Our design practice definitely influences the curation of the programme. We aim to offer a diverse and comprehensive experience where there is something for everybody within the programme but the people we approach to get involved will always be people who's work we personally love. It will be interesting to look back and see how the flavour of the programme changes each year.

How do you curate the program?

We draw up lists and lists and lists and lists of designers, artists, illustrators, art directors, etc. whose work we admire. We then consider the wider picture and create disciplines or more specific areas of work e.g Typography, Art Direction, Advertising and then once these are grouped, we begin to consider how we can create a diverse and strong combination between the groups. We consider the type of work they do, what sort of workshop they might want to give, what they might talk about at the conference and whether they are a good fit for GDFS and the programme among a whole host of other considerations.

New Worlds, Graphic Design Festival Scotland 2016
Conference and Panel Discussion, Graphic Design Festival Scotland 2015
PUTPUT Paint-Rollers 17
PUTPUT, Paintroller, 2016

What is different this year?

We hope this year will be bigger and better than the last! There are more workshops with both local designers and guests from around the world. We have two brand new exhibitions, one group exhibition with DDG (Design Displacement Group) which explores the four grand themes of opera; love, jealousy, ambition and revenge through an immersive audio-visual presentation. And we have one focus exhibition with Swiss/Danish duo PUTPUT featuring a selection of their installations and sculptures.

Our International Poster Exhibition will be shown in G1, the most prominent gallery within Scotland's National Centre for Design and Architecture, The Lighthouse. We will also be taking over five entire floors of the building.

We also have two brand new events. First is New Worlds: a conference and panel discussion with four speakers united through their progressive work and forward thinking approach: Emblemmatic (NYC & Amsterdam), The Future Laboratory (London), Wikihouse (Paris) and one more tba. Second is Shorts: a short film festival in collaboration with Pretend Lovers, showcasing a curated selection of short films from around the globe, which anybody can submit their work to.

What’s the idea behind Shorts film festival?

Last year we premiered a collaboration between our friends at O Street and film producers Pretend Lovers. This went down well so inspired us to look more into short films.

We love film but sometimes don't have the time to sit down and dedicate hours to watching something. So we want to showcase short impactful films as well as more experimental, creative work.

The intense format of a short impactful film also aligns well with the GDFS experience.

What kind of shorts are you looking for? Design films, fashion, your call is so wide.

We are looking for a wide variety. As this will be the first edition, we are looking to educate ourselves, familiarise ourselves with as many styles of film, different artists, film makers and designers as possible.
We want to see short stories with a narrative, expressive film making, compositions with a focus on art direction, documentaries, biographies, even animation.

Submit your short via Film Freeway.

Why an open poster competition?

The poster competition is open to encourage a diversity of ideas and approaches. We want to celebrate a breadth of work.

What’s the story behind the new festival identity?

The identity of GDFS each year is a collaboration between ourselves as Warriors and another design agency. This year we had the pleasure of collaborating with Freytag Anderson. We discuss this in detail here in an interview with It’s Nice That. In short this identity is about the journey as opposed to the destination. We are very aware of designers’ tendencies to present polished resolved work all of the time, but the journey and process are equally as important and can also be equally as interesting.It's all about process and collaboration, which is extended to you! Everybody can contribute to the identity. Just download the source files and design your own version of the poster which could be included in the final print run and showcased online throughout the festival.

Neon Moire gdfs-posters-with-type
GDFS’ identity posters by: Warriors Studio x Freytag Anderson

What is the most memorable moment or unexpected surprise that can be linked to your event?

The most unexpected surprise I guess, is that GDFS is still going and growing. It's amazing to see so many talented and inspiring people working together, having a good time and working together on something they're passionate about.

Graphic Design Festival Scotland

Core programme: 17—23 October 2016
Exhibitions: 17 October — 25 November 2016
£ 0 - 285


Exploring a huge spectrum of processes and approaches with locally and internationally renowned names:

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