strategic planning, creative, digital, identity + design, media
We felt something wonderfully offbeat about the pairing of a high brow indie film festival and a humble Texas town. Both full of intoxicating character but at the same time wildly different. That juxtaposition and the abundant promise of unique experiences has created this escapist tradition known as the Hill Country Film Festival – in little Fredericksburg, Texas.
Imagine capturing this eclectic combination and establishing a distinctive brand amidst the stampede of local indie festivals. We offered a big appeal to the festival gods and set off to update the face of the Hill Country Film Festival.
From its humble, grass-roots beginnings in 2010, the Hill Country Film Festival has developed into a world-class, independent film lover’s destination festival.
After six successful years, the festival leaders came to White Hat with the idea of reinventing and modernizing the brand. The challenge? Keep the friendly, independent spirit and flavor of the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg, but elevate the festival’s identity and cache in order navigate in the same stratus as other marquee film festivals.
We considered the domain within which we were operating…the Sundances and the Cannes of the world. We noticed that the long-running, renowned festivals rely heavily on film and celebrity images.
Our strategy – to look markedly different than competitors – involved leveraging the originality of both independent films and Fredericksburg into the new imagery. The international festivals showcase dramatic photographic images from the films (and the festival) for the bulk of their identity work…keeping the remaining elements rather recessive.
To maintain the Hill Country Festival’s heritage of illustration, we developed original art-piece imagery for the marquee branding elements…posters, programs, advertising…for the 2016 festival. We invented a visual mashup of applique-style folk art and contemporary metaphors…and accented it with a hand-drawn type treatment. We telegraphed originality with a “sipster” cowboy boot, a re-purposed 10-gallon hat and a freshly-appointed saddle…as our key visuals.
We incorporated the Hill Country vibe into the look with a sun-faded pastel pallet inspired by the wildflowers of Central Texas.
The 2016 celebration was a barn buster.
The Hill Country Film Festival’s successful facelift was perfectly timed for its 7th and largest celebration to date. The 2016 festival experienced a sharp increase in the number of sponsors, partners and earned funding – with just as big a leap in attendance.
Riding high with new branding and personality, the Hill Country Film Festival is in a great position for this year’s 2017 festival. “The new brand will help us better engage with our current fan base and expand beyond it. White Hat exceeded all our expectations with their creativity, competence and enthusiasm.”
“Working with White Hat for this rebranding was an enlightening and inspirational experience. They thoroughly evaluated the brand – and from there, developed a fresh look and messaging that really captures the authenticity of the festival.”
The work earned local and regional ADDY awards and marketing community recognition.