Dance with The Lord of Misrule


It’s probably fair to say the Welsh like a party. If you were in Cardiff last weekend you can probably lay testament to that. And not a lot of people know, us Welsh like a festival too; we’ve got all sorts and in all shapes and sizes, from Wakestock up in Abersoch, to Croissant Neuf down in Usk. All sorts. But probably the most renowned of them all is the Green Man Festival held over four days and nine stages and enjoyed by a growing number of revellers each year since 2003, in the Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacons.

Beloved for its truly independent ethos and eclectic programming, the festival is now in its eleventh year and going strong. Headliners for 2013 include Band Of Horses, Edwyn Collins, John Cale, Local Natives, Erol Alkan and scores more. This year, YCN Studio have been commissioned to conceive and implement a fresh identity for 2013, including a new website painting a picture of the festival’s unique experience.

YCN Studio director Alex Ostrowski explains how the team began the project: “We started by asking a million questions and immersing ourselves in the materials from previous years. Pretty early on, we knew we wanted to do something unexpected with the Green Man himself… we wanted to find a way for audiences to feel his presence everywhere, rather than just in a logo.”

The festival is named after an ancient nature deity believed to originate from Pagan times. The Green Man represents nature’s wildness, and is known to be ‘The Lord of Misrule’ with a mischievous side. So YCN’s approach was to imply the Green Man’s omnipresence as an all-seeing deity, by transferring his energy from the singularity of a portrait-based logo into a more flexible visual language of organic elements. They also developed the Green Man’s tone of voice, naming the festival’s ten distinct areas, each blessed with a unique indigenous symbol. Names include ‘Babbling Tongues’ (the spoken word area), ‘Little Folk’ (the kids area) and ‘Fortune Falls’ (the waterfall & ponds area).

YCN Studio commissioned poet Kibbo Kift to create a stirring statement from the Green Man, excerpts from which flash up on the Green Man website intermittently during the user journey. From website to wristbands, YCN Studio worked with illustrator Sarah Mazzetti to develop the Green Man’s world of pagan-tinged wild strangeness. Mazzetti helped to conjure an exciting picture of the festival, felt across maps, area illustrations, print matter, and the website.

YCN Studio also developed a custom typeface for the project; drawn, woodblock-printed and faithfully digitised with help from Colophon Foundry. The typeface, available in four weights of varying ‘roughness’ from the physical printing process, contains unique symbols for each festival area.

I really love this job. It has life, it has depth, it has a purpose and it is authentic. Well done YCN. Read more about it here, or follow YCN on Twitter

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