Visual Design for NY Music Festival

Black River Brew & Music Festival

Billions of logos, No designers in town, & one day to turn something out

My friend Jordan approached me the night before he was about to go on tour. He was frustrated that one of the big festivals he was playing on his tour had a poster that was made with clip art and low res images. The poster looked as if it had been created in photo paint in about 1985. I told him I would be happy to help him out. He was really stoked but we had never worked together and he had no idea of my skills other than this was something I had done before. 

The project

We needed a poster designed for a music festival in Watertown NY. We also needed two facebook hero images. One for corporate pages and one for personal pages.


The original Timeline was Wednesday AM to press on the East Coast. It was now 4 PM on Monday night on the West Coast and with the time difference for changes, approval and sign off... I immediately realized this was going to be a tight fit. My friend Jordan and his team were really excited to have me on board. I was excited too, however,  I had no idea what I was up against.


Day one

The first issue was that my only real contact with this project was my friend Jordan, who was on a jet to NY late that same night. We had never worked together so we didn't have any idea what to expect or how to communicate about the project

I had 3 example posters and no budget.  The first was a beautifully hand illustrated poster (but there was no way I would have the time to hand illustrate everything to spec and I still had other project timelines that had to be met). The second poster looked like what I was used to - That "screen-print-artsy/Indie-Rock" kind of poster that would also be a great T-shirt.  The third was the original (looked a bit like a photocopied collage of magazine pages taped together). 

I dove in and started researching some posters to get a feel for colors and style of design - I also lined up some fonts and, although I followed direction - My friend wasn't feeling it and I knew it. The night was getting late and he had to fly out to NY to start his tour. I put things to bed about 9:30 that night.

Day two

@ 7 AM on Tuesday I dove into work on the poster.  I instantly realized that the roster of sponsors was a mile long. I had an inbox full of logos and I was worried the whole thing was just going to be so busy to look good no matter what I did.  I spent most of the day looking for appropriate fonts and fixing logos. None of the logos were vector images. Most of them had just been downloaded from websites off the web. Bad resolutions and only one of the nearly 20 logos had a transparency.  One of my logos was actually a photo of the logo on a wine bottle. I was scrambling to recreate logos and/or find better versions that I could use.  By the time I was done - I didn't have much time to come up with and design the actual poster. I wasn't convinced they were going to like what I had done, and even though I was given an extension in the form of an extra day, I had already spent about three times more time on this project than I could justify.  I had to send it off that night because I was against a wall and it was now 1AM East coast time.  If there were going to be any changes done tomorrow - They needed to see where we were. 

Day three

I woke up at 5:45 in the AM and was wide awake. I picked up my phone and there was a message for me to call Jordan on the East coast.  I jumped in the shower and went into my office to read the emails. In the email I found that I had 7 emails from yesterday stuck in my SPAM folder.  I opened them and found another 30 Logos that should have been included. My heart sank. 
I called Jordan. Jordan was cool but was  clearly not happy with what we were looking at.  Now we were just looking at damage control. We talked about who's actual logos needed to be present and who could just be listed as sponsors.  To my relief, We no longer needed everyone's logos. There were only three logos that needed to be on the poster - We would list the sponsors by name. Jordan told me the ugly truth. The poster I sent was no where near acceptable. we talked it out a bit and I proposed that we just keep working together and checking in every couple of hours.  I went up stairs and sat down with the muted Illustration they said they liked the best and started building. About an hour in I shot the poster with my camera phone and texted it to Jordan so I didn't dive down the rabbit hole without making sure it was the right direction.

Jordan called me and I nervously answered. Much to my delight - He was elated with the new direction.  

With new found energy, I dove into the color scheme and my mind just clicked in to exactly what I wanted to do.  I found the three logos that had to be on the page and recreated them using the color pallette I had chosen.  I designed several flag banners that I could use as headings and grabbed a beer glass graphic I created on the original poster as the focal point for the new design.


Logo Re-design - and Pallette for new design


Facebook hero

Personal Page

facebook Business hero for Black River music festival
Facebook Hero Template redline

Business Page


facebook Business hero for Black River music festival

Additional Concepts

Future Festival Concept 2019-2020

Future Festival Concept 2019-2020

Current Festival Concept 2019

Current Festival Concept 2019