After 20 years of designing a music festival, Green Man offers its new folk identity

Nestled in its usual location between the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons – and each year subjected to the region’s traditionally unforgiving yet atmospheric climate – the Green Man Festival will welcome around 25,000 attendees from Thursday 18 August. Green Man is known for its artistic ethos (huge bonfire sculptures in folk styles are just part of its visual lineup), and the festival’s illustrative identity is key to that feel, both in construction through social networks and on the site itself. This year, the artist behind the unique artwork – appearing on posters and stages, beer mugs, key chains and parking passes – is a Niagara-based artist Jess Hanningan. The work, however, builds on a significant rebranding that happened in 2013.

According to Green Man’s team, identity has “changed massively over the last 20 years.” The team adds, “It started off as a pretty folksy, organic visual look that was more of an afterthought than anything.” In 2013, the festival underwent a major rebrand; as Green Man carved out a niche for itself, the identity became an “integral aspect of the festival”. The key change was that it created its own custom font in-house using bespoke block printing techniques, along with a set of symbols and names for each of the 10 festival zones. This work and an important brief form a strict framework that various artists have since experimented with (some of his previous posters are to be discovered below).

There are, after all, a multitude of themes to experiment with when it comes to Green Man. Jess Hanningan’s 2022 work riffs on a lot of them. The 2022 anniversary work is primarily rooted in its location in the Brecon Beacons and the legends surrounding the area. “Verdant fields, lush flora, ancient trees, looming mountains and murmuring streams,” the Green Man team lists, all play a part in Jess’s more symbolic illustrations. Perhaps more than any other Green Man refresh, Jess’ designs are inspired by the myths and folklore that are an integral part of the site. The identity and posters are full of imaginary otherworldly creatures, mysterious configurations and astrological moments.

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