News / Graphic Design

Marina Willer rebrands the Hay Festival and tells us what her desert island book would be


Marina Willer/Pentagram: Hay Festival (Via Pentagram)

Since 1987, the Hay Festival has offered a haven for spoken word-loving bibliophiles the world over. Originally nestled away in the small Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye, the bash has become a globetrotting series of events that invite participants and guests to consider the world as it is and as it could be.

Yesterday, Pentagram partner Marina Willer unveiled a new identity for the festival. Her challenge, Pentagram says, was to “create an overarching brand identity that could cover the various dimensions, geographies and channels they now include.”

How, then, did Marina – whose previous work for the agency includes an identity for African entrepreneur alliance Harambeans – turn a brief into a reality? She used trees. Obviously.

The branches, we’re told, “represent a family of Hay Festival editions,” and we’re commending them on their ability to not make a pun about how the visual overhaul coincides with the Hay team having branched out into numerous festivals and events far from their Welsh base over the years. They go on to say that, “an outline version of that graphic language appears in all the components with unique colours signifying new festivals or denoting new platforms – such as the Hay Player or Hay Festival Foundation.”

Speaking exclusively to It’s Nice That about why she and the team took on a book-focused project, Marina tells us that, “to me, reading can help us control the mind, deal with time in a more balanced way, it’s about being present and connected at the story or narrative. Like meditating almost.”

Evidently a keen reader, when pressed to name her ultimate desert island book, she says, “it changes all the time,” but does manage to single out the Albanian novelist, poet, and playwright’s 1980 novel Broken April as one of them. No, we’ve never read it either.


Marina Willer/Pentagram: Hay Festival (Via Pentagram)


Marina Willer/Pentagram: Hay Festival (Via Pentagram)


Marina Willer/Pentagram: Hay Festival (Via Pentagram)