Birmingham missed out on its annual design festival last year due to Covid, leaving quite a big hole in Birmingham’s creative scene. But thankfully, this summer, the festival finally returned in a hybrid real-life virtual event. The Birmingham Design Festival team did an excellent job of putting together a Covid friendly real-life event followed by a content-jammed online conference.
This year’s theme for the festival was‘Colour’, which made for a very vibrant exhibition celebrating all things Birmingham. Alongside the festival, 2021 saw the launch of The Creative City, a collection of Birmingham’s designers in print and digital format.
Based in Digbeth, the creative hub of Birmingham, the exhibition saw 100 colourful A1 posters showcasing 100 Birmingham-based creatives celebrating what the city means to them. The visuals on display were so diverse from illustrators, designers, typographers, printmakers and artists displaying family history, dialect, food and music culture. It truly was a feast for the eyes.
The exhibition was also taken to the streets of Birmingham in an outdoor style exhibition. Over half of the posters were plastered on billboards for all to see and essentially brighten up Birmingham.
Whilst walking around the exhibition, you could overhear creatives meet each other for the first time. Having only communicated through the likes of Instagram and Twitter, it was so good to hear and admittedly it was quite heartwarming. Some familiar faces were spotted from meeting at past design events like Glug, Type talks and overlap animation. It simultaneously proved and showed that the design scene is well and truly alive and kicking.
On offer at the conference were talks of ‘Practical Colour’ and ‘Playful Colour’ along with workshops and Q&As. Talks came from top artists, colour experts and founders of industry-leading studios, discussing how colour impacts their work and how they apply it in their practice.
Although colour theory has long been established, it can still be subjective (as with most things in the art world). Life experiences, associations, and understanding of colour are unique to everyone, leading to lively discussions on how art should and can be presented through colour.
Colour experimentation is a huge part of the design process already, and it’s been great to get an insight into how other designers allow colour to influence their projects.
After a very successful virtual festival, we’re already looking forward to seeing what Birmingham Design Festival 2022 will look like. See you next year!