Edinburgh Fringe 2019 creative

The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, with thousands of artists filling hundreds of venues in Edinburgh across the month of August. At Scots, we are so lucky to have it on our doorstep, and I’ve been a keen Fringe-goer since I was a child.

It was therefore a huge thrill and privilege to learn that our agency, Bright Signals, had been selected as the creative agency for this year’s event. I’ve been closely involved in the whole campaign from the pitch stage right through to the design and construction of our apps and experiential installations. Here’s a quick summary of the fun bits…

The cover

The first major project was producing the cover for this year’s programme. The cover, which has featured some iconic artwork over the years, also informs the rest of the Fringe communications — everything from posters and t-shirts to pin badges and lanyards.

I really enjoyed my part in the process of shortlisting, briefing and art-directing the wonderful Parisian illustrator, Bruno Mangyoku.

His finished artwork does the magic trick of being instantly recognisable and iconic, whilst at the same time being something you can lose yourself in for an hour.

The game

The Fringe takes place in hundreds of venues across Edinburgh, yet most visitors gravitate towards the big, famous names. We wanted to encourage visitors to explore the fringes of the Fringe through some sort of “treasure hunt” mechanism.

Our original plan was for a physical lanyard that you stamp at each venue — a kind of hybrid of an orienteering punch card and a coffee shop loyalty card. As discussions progressed with the client, it turned into something altogether more exciting — a fully fledged mobile web game.

Visitors will be encouraged to ‘collect’ venues by scanning a unique code found in each of the locations that the Fringe takes place in. The app keeps track of all your check-ins and offers some great prizes for the top collectors.

You can view the app here: https://fringemaker.edfringe.com/  (although you need to be in Edinburgh to get the most out of it).

The installation

Right from the pitch stage, I was determined to take our campaign beyond the printed and digital worlds into the physical world. Our creative hook for this year is the idea of taking a chance, because it’s the random stuff you didn’t plan which will make your Fringe experience memorable. (Like the time I and about 15 others witnessed Eddie Izzard recreate the movie Dambusters in back alley during his lunch break.)

At the Fringe there’s an almost overwhelming daily schedule, with over 3,800 unique pieces of work being performed over the month. Our idea was to turn that challenge into an opportunity, creating a roulette-style machine that would pick a random show for you.

Following creative sessions with our team and the client, we refined the idea to offer both a physical version and an online version to maximise reach. Both versions feature bespoke 10-second pitch videos, which many hundreds of performers (from famous names like Christopher Biggins to brand new student acts) all kindly created for us.

The online version can be found here: https://inspiration.edfringe.com/

The physical version will be located next to Royal Scottish Academy on Princes Street throughout the month of August.Here’s a video that the Fringe created to promote the machine online…

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