After 20 years designing a music festival, Green Man breaks down its new folkloric identity
As Green Man 2022 gears up for kick off, we examine this year’s anniversary identity and ask the festival about the evolution of its look over 20 years.
- Liz Gorny
- 8 August 2022
Nestled in its usual spot between the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons – and annually beholden to the area’s traditionally unforgiving yet atmospheric weather – Green Man Festival will welcome around 25,000 attendees from Thursday 18 August. Green Man is known for its artistic ethos (huge bonfire sculptures in folkloric styles are just part of its visual lineup), and the festival’s illustrative identity is key to this feel, both in the build-up across socials and at the site itself. This year, the artist behind the unique illustrations – appearing on posters and stages, beer cups, key rings and parking passes – is Niagara-based artist Jess Hannigan. The work, however, builds on a significant rebrand that happened in 2013.
According to the Green Man team, the identity has “changed massively over the last 20 years”. The team adds, “It began as quite a folksy and organic visual look that was more of an afterthought than anything else.” In 2013, the festival underwent a major rebrand; as Green Man carved out a niche for itself, the identity became an “integral aspect of the festival”. The key change was that it created its own custom font in-house using bespoke block printing techniques, plus a set of symbols and names for each of the 10 festival areas. This work and an extensive brief have formed a strict framework that various artists have experimented with since (some of its previous posters can be discovered below).
There is, after all, a wealth of themes to experiment with when it comes to Green Man. Jess Hannigan’s 2022 work riffs on many of them. The 2022 anniversary work is mainly rooted in its location within the Brecon Beacons and the legends surrounding the area. “The verdant fields, the luscious flora, the ancient trees, the looming mountains and babbling brooks”, the Green Man team lists, all play a part in Jess’ more symbolic illustrations. Perhaps more so than any other Green Man refresh, Jess’ designs are informed by the myths and folklore integral to the site. The identity and posters are full of imagined otherworldly creatures, mysterious configurations and astrological moments.
Making the stars align creatively like this is a major annual task for any festival, but particularly for the art-driven Green Man. “Each year is a major challenge to source a commission that’ll compliment our aesthetics while also keeping it fresh, current and unique. There should be a thread of continuity year-on-year without ever getting complacent or reliant on tried and tested visuals.” Equally, for a festival that brings illustration to moments as small as its reusable beer cups, the assets need to feel unique with each appearance.
For visitors attending this year’s event, look out for Jess Hannigan’s work across all these areas and more, and catch a glimpse at how a design has evolved over two decades.
Jess Hannigan: Green Man Festival 2022 (Copyright © Green Man Festival, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.