The 2018 music festival announcement season is in full swing! Most of this year’s spring, summer and fall festivals have blasted their lineups and ticket options far and wide across social media, giving concert-goers a taste of what they can expect as attendees. The dizzying variety of festivals is a perennial constant, but so far, 2018’s music festival branding identity trends have adhered to established styles and conventions.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing; music festival brands trying to stand out from their peers will always have to deal with a certain sameness, mostly because of content. People want to know the festival date and location, which acts are in the lineup, and when tickets go on sale. Color, typography, and image elements will usually stick to serving the larger goal of quick legibility and comprehension—so event brands will try to differentiate themselves in subtle ways.

Music Festival Branding colors


Most color palettes will remain small, with two to five colors serving the entire identity like in the examples above. In some cases (Reading/Leeds, Kaaboo) that’s an essential brand aspect, but for several other festivals (Boston Calling, Melt, Firefly) it’s a new development. Color choices themselves are all over the spectrum, from lurid and bold warm colors (Reading/Leeds, Boston Calling) to cool and mellow pastel gradients (Bottle Rock, Coachella) to traditional and conservative blacks or grays (Rock on the Range, Bunbury) with one accent.

Music Festival Identity Typography


Fonts and typography have the most essential job in music festival branding, whether on websites, posters, or social collateral. Narrow, sans-serif fonts will continue dominating (either in standard or all-caps cases), especially font faces that stay legible at small point sizes for mobile social posts (from freebies like Oswald (from Rock on the Range above, top) to fee-based like Tungsten (from Boston Calling above, bottom). Type will also continue to be displayed in colors with the highest contrast against their backgrounds (often white or black, but there’s still lots of variety out there).

Music Festival Identity Imagery


The old standby of photography is still going strong in music festival branding, with compelling images of wild light shows (Creamfields) or verdant rural hillsides (Bottle Rock) topped off with monochrome festival identity (usually black or white logos/type/elements) that doesn’t interfere with the colorful imagery beneath. Illustrations, icons, and other imagery will continue to be modular—used as a suite of various interchangeable combinations (Sziget) across the entire collateral suite (Primavera).


And now, the designs! We didn’t create them, and each image is only a hint of a given festival’s overall branding, but the following identities (listed alphabetically) are indicative of what’s trending right now:

1. Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (Manchester, TN)

The ‘Roo brands itself with 3-5 contrasting colors and (mostly) all-caps type. Trends spotted: rich/saturated color palette, sans-serif type, compelling photography. Typefaces: Gotham Narrow, Filson Bold.

2. Boston Calling (Boston, MA)

Two typefaces and a solid red hue help cement this no-frills identity. Trends spotted: limited color palette, all-caps/sans-serif type, simple identity. Typefaces: Tungsten Narrow, Futura Condensed, Serif Gothic.

3. Bottle Rock (Napa, CA)

Cool colors and simple identity allow text and imagery to stand out. Trends spotted: Pastels, gradients, one-color identity overlays. Typefaces: Nexa Rust Slab, Gotham Narrow.

4. Bunbury Music Festival (Cincinnati, OH)

Black and gray dominate, but the orange accent and slab serif type give its conservative identity just enough edge. Trends spotted: grayscale colors, slab serif type. Typefaces: Sync Pro, Open Sans.

5. California Roots Music & Arts Festival (Monterey, CA)

A cooler, muted palette with variations on two colors puts the focus on artist and concert imagery. Trends spotted: desaturated color, sans-serif type, modular elements. Typeface: Dosis.

6. Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Indio, CA)

The Coachella lineup posters may be the most familiar, widely-seen music festival identity of the past two decades. Trends spotted: pastel colors, gradients, compelling photos. Typefaces: Greycliff for the site, hand-lettering for the logo.

7. Creamfields (Daresbury, UK)

Minimalist identity lets the photos and videos work their magic. Trends spotted: one-color overlays, muted accent hues, sans-serif type, wide-angle concert photos. Typefaces: Rajdhani, Poppins.

8. Firefly Music Festival (Dover, DE)

Bright, outdoorsy colors lay down a comfy base for (mostly) all-white, all-caps type. Trends spotted: rich/saturated color palette, sans-serif type, compelling photography. Typeface: Proxima Soft Condensed.

9. The Governors Ball Music Festival (New York City, NY)

A dusky, muted color palette and hand-drawn imagery contrasts well with formal font sets. Trends spotted: Illustration, modular elements and imagery, sans-serif/all-caps type. Typefaces: Frontage Condensed Bold, Mission Gothic Bold.

10. Kaaboo Music Festival (Del Mar, CA)

Saturated aqua, teal and lavender play well here with dramatic, sunset-filled imagery and dazzling concert photos. Trends spotted: rich cool colors, sans-serif/all caps type. Typefaces: Hand-lettered logo; Korolev and Alternate Gothic for body copy.

11. Melt Festival (Gräfenhainichen, Germany)

This blocky yet effective Teutonic identity is dominated by all-caps typography and simple shapes. Trends spotted: grayscale colors, bright accents, modular imagery. Typefaces: Stolzl, Founders.

12. Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival (San Francisco, CA)

This illustration-heavy identity with multiple instances of hand-lettered type is definitely an outlier, but it’s so much fun that it simply must be on this list. Trends spotted: modular illustration, rich colors, all-caps/sans-serif type. Typefaces: Goudar, Museo Sans, Benton Sans.

13. Primavera Sound (Barcelona, Spain)

Primavera’s diverse combination may seem chaotic, but the basic type is never overwhelmed by wildly detailed illustrations or catchy photos. Trends spotted: narrow, all-caps type, modular illustration. Typefaces: League Gothic, Museo Slab.

14. Reading Festival/Leeds Festival (Reading & Leeds, UK)

Brilliant simplicity. Reading? Red! Leeds? Yellow! Otherwise, the identity of both is practically identical. Trends spotted: minimal color palette, all-caps/sans-serif type. Typeface: TeX Gyre Aventor.

15. Rock on the Range (Columbus, OH and Winnipeg, MB)

No frills about this one. There’s no mistaking that you’re going to a rock festival and IT WILL ROCK YOU. Trends spotted: grayscale colors and imagery; minimal yet bright accents; sans-serif/all-caps type. Typeface: Oswald.

16. Sasquatch! Music Festival (George, WA)

This festival sheds its coat every year to adopt something new, but 2018’s identity with rich cool colors topped by vibrant red, looks as shaggy as ever. Trends spotted: Modular illustration, all-caps type. Typefaces: Hand-lettering for the logo, Anton and Roboto for the web copy.

17. Sziget Island of Freedom (Budapest, Hungary)

This one is between identities at the moment, but what we’ve seen so far for 2018 indicates a rich base topped off by neon accents. Trends spotted: rich cool colors, modular elements, compelling photography. Typefaces: Bronn Rust Bold.

18. Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (New Orleans, LA)

Pastel accents jump out from a background of dark photos or solid black blocks, lending some eerie vibes to this NOLA festival. Trends spotted: modular illustrations, all-caps type, compelling photography. Typeface: MPI No. 508.

Honorable Mention: Jack Johnson & Friends, a Benefit for the Community (Santa Barbara, CA)

I’m adding in a personal favorite here. It’s a one-off concert and not a festival, but I’m highlighting its identity (by Jeff Canham) for several reasons. Most importantly, it’s a benefit for my local region (Ventura and Santa Barbara) recently beset by the twin California disasters of wildfires and mudslides. Second, it’s at the Santa Barbara Bowl, my favorite concert venue, and one I’ve had the privilege to design for via Oniracom. Third, it’s a map illustration—and if you know me you know that I’m enough of a map nerd to create multiple map passion projects, and even a map design eBook.

You Have One Job

Festival collateral can be designed to the nines, but ultimately it’ll still have to be legible and uncluttered enough to convey lots of information at a glance. 2018’s music festival branding has already shown that it probably won’t rock the boat in profound ways, but as always, the distinction’s in the details!

Working with a single creative firm for all your visual identity collateral keeps your event on-trend and attuned to your present and future attendees. Tight Ship’s team delivers compelling visual identity across multiple media to help ensure engagement, consistency and memorability ship-shape for the entire cruise. Get a look at what we can do for you by contacting us today!