Festival de la
Cour Denis

My second year of poster illustration and web design for this wonderfully offbeat music festival in Burgundy

Illustration and Web Design

Another chance to illustrate a poster and more that would serve as the face of a fantastic music festival, displayed throughout east-central France. This time around, I aimed to portray the spirit of the people and place that this event embodies.

Festival de la Cour Denis 2017 poster branding

In the days leading up to the festival, local volunteers work tirelessly, yet there's still a certain sense of effortlessness to it all. Old friends and family laugh and catch up while everyone does their part in making the final preparations. The work is performed with careful consideration and attention to detail, a performance in itself. By the time visitors begin to stroll in, things are running like a well-oiled machine.

Suddenly, the stages spark to life with a broad range of musical performances. Crowds start to sway, then break into dance as live music drifts through them and into the surrounding hills. My goal was to capture this air of blissful euphoria in my poster illustration.

This time, I had all of the successes and failures of last year's design process to work from. I started by writing down the most vivid memories from my experience at the festival that previous summer, then sketched out a few different concepts.

Photo of sketchbook displaying Festival de la Cour Denis 2017 concept sketch

Listening to the diverse range of music featured on that year's lineup once again provided me with an idea of the atmosphere I wanted to convey. The variety of music genres spans jazz, psych-rock, traditional Greek folk music, post-punk, avant-garde and more. This range of styles presented an overall feeling of creative freedom and experimentation.

Line drawing of the Festival de la Cour Denis 2017 typography

To maintain the brand I had crafted the previous year, I used the same cursive + 3D typography combination for 'Festival de la Cour Denis'. The lineup wouldn't be finalized for a while after the illustration was completed, so I kept a good amount of space reserved on the lower half of the poster for whatever might be in store.

I drew custom letterforms and digitized them into a font called 'Wesh Mec' ('Yo Man' in French slang). With this technique I could quickly type out anything in my custom font, saving me a ton of time (handwriting all the band-names took a loooong time the previous year). It also creates a greater consistency in poster layout.

Hand drawn letters from the custom font created for the Festival de la Cour Denis 2017 poster

Vivid color gradients echo the kaleidoscopic array of sights and sounds experienced at the festival. A miniature depiction of the farm where the festival takes place appears on the left, providing a familiar image to those who have attended the event before and a glimpse of what is to come for people going for the first time.

Festival de la Cour Denis 2017 poster design by Parker RIchard

I sprinkled little 'easter-eggs' into the hills and added a curious snail gliding into the foreground. Snails or 'escargot' are primarily from the region and can be found making slime trails all over the Burgundy. To top it all off, a pair of UFOs beam the cursive loops of 'festival de la' over Cour Denis, adding a sense of the unknown. In the end, I think I did justice to the spirit of serenity and creative freedom surrounding this unique gathering.

Detail of UFO illustration from Festival de la Cour Denis 2017 poster
Detail of flowers illustration from Festival de la Cour Denis 2017 poster
Detail of snail illustration from Festival de la Cour Denis 2017 poster

In addition to the poster illustration and wed design, I was commissioned to create a design to be printed onto reusable cups that beverages were served in. I created a vector outline of the original illustration, transforming my poster design into a compact emblem. I depicted both day and night since festival-goers would be camping beneath the stars and spending the daytime exploring the farm and the surrounding countryside.

Daytime emblem design for Festival de la Cour Denis 2017
Nighttime emblem design for Festival de la Cour Denis 2017

I updated the responsive website I had built the previous year with a corresponding color palette and graphic elements from my new illustration. This time, I created profiles for each artist who would be playing the festival and included links to their music and social media pages.

Laptop, tablet and smartphone displaying Festival de la Cour Denis 2017 website with illustration