Katowice JazzArt Festival is a week-long international music event held in the framework of the International Jazz Day proclaimed by UNESCO. Despite its short history, Katowice JazzArt Festival has gained recognition and a permanent place on the map of cultural events in Silesia and in Poland. Expanding with each year, it is increasingly eager to approach true legends and boldly venture into jazz fringe territory. The first 3 editions failed to establish a clear and recognizable image of the festival. Posters and billboards went unnoticed in the urban tissue, and promotional materials did not arouse interest with their form. Visual identity of the 4th edition of the festival was meant as a clean break with the past (only the logo was retained). Moreover, the festival had to be differentiated from 2 other jazz festivals taking place in Katowice.
Jazz played at the festival is music that escapes definition, diverse, improvised. That is why the motto of the festival was a quote from Quincy Jones: “Hell, nobody knows where jazz is going to go.” The inspiration for the graphic sign was a piano keyboard, interweaved with loosely scattered letters that spelled the name of the event. The irregular geometry of an octave intermingled with the lettering and the background, forming an impressionist mosaic. The letters seemed to ‘play’ the keyboard, all elements were ‘boiling’, suggestive of the hell in the quotation. The colours of the festival were a fiery red, warm light beige, and black. This combination of colours evoked the mood of nostalgia for the atmosphere of jazz concerts in New York of the late 1950s. The visual theme was combined in unexpected ways with photographs of artists performing at the festival. Typography and abstract arrangement of other elements in the poster covered and uncovered the faces of performers, producing a throbbing effect. Promotional materials used contrasting paper texture – roughness met with smoothness, stiffness with softness. This variety of textures referred to the heterogeneity of jazz, which can be both pleasantly melodic and unbearably noisy, jarring with an apparent lack of harmony. This reinforced the festival motto “Hell, nobody knows where jazz is going to go.”
For promotional purposes a series of bar items was created, including matches (a reference to ‘hell’ quote), coasters, and plate mats. A pocket brochure made of 12 tear-off postcards, double sided programme flyer, invitations, bookmarks, 2 general posters, a series of posters devoted to specific events, billboards, bus shelter ads, press and internet campaign, and a new website were designed. Visual identity of the 4th edition of the festival will be continued in 2015. Instead of the keyboard, promotional materials will feature a distinctive drawing of saxophone fingerings harmonizing with the text. Continuity of the image will strengthen the event brand and the festival itself will mark its presence more strongly in the minds of the inhabitants of Katowice with a more pronounced entrance into public space – creating a dedicated mural.