Festival design shouldn't interfere with experience- Sameer Kulavoor, Bombay Duck Designs


Sameer Kulavoor, founder of Bombay Duck Designs is one of Mumbai's most respected designers. His body of work spans a wide range of specialties ranging from production design, motion design, and editorial & brand illustrations. The list of brands he has worked with is endless, but one vividly remembers his festival creatives for the NH7 Weekender over the years and the recently released limited-edition poster for Nike Air Max Day. Apart from this, Sam has also regularly indulged in several highly acclaimed self-initiated projects like Blued and The Ghoda Cycle Project among others.

Everything Experiential caught up with Sam to hear his thoughts on what goes into making of a beautifully designed festival.

EE: Firstly, How are organisers today approaching a festival's production design? How important is it to the overall fan experience? 

Design and production are one of the most important aspects of a music festival. It leaves a major impact on the fans experience both consciously and subconsciously. The festival experience starts the minute the audience steps out of their homes to attend the festival and ends only the minute they get back home. Signage and outdoors that lead to the festival grounds, the fencing of the venue and individual stages (both inside & outside), the cloth that covers the speakers, the stage design & lighting, the brand integration, every single detail is minutely worked on at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender. It is done a way that it doesn't interfere when you are with your friends enjoying the music. It is very important that you, as the organiser, don't lose the interest of the audience in the time between performances and time spent walking in from one stage to another.

EE: Designing a festival must be such a daunting task. Where do you start? What's your style of working?

We start at the drawing board, working out a basic concept and visual language for each year. Thereafter, we take the concept and design across all mediums such as tickets, wristbands, press ads, outdoors, fencing cloth, scrim cloth, merchandise, etc. At Weekender, our theme was ‘Plectrum’ in 2012 and ‘Faces and People’ in 2013.

[caption id="attachment_7395" align="aligncenter" width="204"] Plectrum, NH7 Weekender 2012[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_7394" align="aligncenter" width="222"] Faces and Places, NH7 Weekender 2013[/caption]

3. We see a lot of brands sponsoring festivals. So how do you incorporate a brand’s personality into the design? 

We identify each brand’s unique personality and create graphic art based on their peculiar traits. So the Bacardi Arena looks different from the Eristoff Wolves Den, the RedBull area looks different from The MTS Other Stage. Essentially the idea is for each branded stage to have a different character and vibe.

4. India is seeing its fair share of festival properties every year. Have you been around for a few? With respect to design, tell us which ones have caught your eye. 

Since I’m caught between Weekender, publishing books and working with various clients, I barely have the time to check out other festivals. Hopefully this year I’ll find some time to see a few. But from whatever I’ve seen I’ve found Magnetic Fields, Ragastan and the Storm Festival in Coorg really intriguing.

Tags assigned to this article:
design Experience festival music Weekender

Around The World

Our Publications