An Islendingadagurinn Journey

 In Branding, Design


With each brand story, one must start at the most important point in the journey. One must start at the beginning…

So Callum, why did you want to take part in Icelandic Festival of Manitoba as a corporate sponsor?”

“I’d say it goes back to my deep icelandic roots. My father was a viking, my grandfather was a viking, my great grandfather was a viking and my great, great grandfather was really a bit of a dandy so we don’t speak about him but my great, great, great grandfather – now he was a real viking. 

 That, plus someone told me we would get to eat a lot of free tiramisu but that has yet to come to fruition.

 In actuality, the opportunity presented itself and we felt like it would be fun. We’ve worked with a lot of festivals and have always found them to be rewarding both from a creative point of view but also a community involvement perspective. By heavily sponsoring local events we feel we are contributing to the vibrancy of the community.”

At over 100 years old, the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba or Islendingadagurinn is one of the oldest running festivals in the province. The Gimli-based festival celebrates Icelandic culture and heritage every summer, attracting guests from as far away as Iceland itself.

As the lead designer, I was excited to be contributing to the community, and working on festival artwork because it always sparks creativity and endless opportunities in design.

Our contribution as a corporate sponsor was to rebrand the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba as an organization, while also developing its 2016 festival theme. In brief, the story we wanted to create for the festival was based on celebrating the journey and history of Icelandic culture — a parallel to participants creating their own journey as they explore all the festival has to offer.

I began my research reading about Icelandic culture and traditions, the local Icelandic community known as New Iceland, as well as Nordic and Scandinavian design. Needless to say I liked it all. However, because there were so many great aspects to the Icelandic culture, we presented two separate creative directions — one that was influenced by modern Scandinavian design, then in contrast one that was more expressive and inspired by old world mythology.

The festival board was clear that they wanted to go back to their roots. The chosen direction was heavily influenced by Icelandic landscapes, hand-made tools, engravings, textiles and philosophies, then applied in a more contemporary way to create a sense of discovery and exploration. This playful approach allows the viewer to interact with every piece of creative on a personal level. The stylized texture of ancient Runic symbols and pictograms reveals messages of Icelandic ideology and culture as if the viewer was hearing them echo through time.

Now that the hard part was done — in true festival fashion — many materials needed to be created. The new Islendingadagurinn brand is expressed in a complete body of work. From a corporate stationery package to various advertising and social media components, a full website redesign (a Visual Lizard collaboration), and festival merchandise, this brand reaches not only into the roots of the past but has the potential to grow into the festivals of the future.

The creation of this brand was a journey in its own right, and a rewarding one at that (as evidenced in our brand launch party). From a fearless and enduring people to a rich and thriving culture, the heritage is celebrated, remembered and expressed through every branded piece, subtly reminding us that at this year’s festival, our own journey, has only just begun.

Create your own journey at the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba in Gimli, July 29 through to August 1!



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