Design festival identity is a marbling marvel

Matthew Bolger and Emelie Lidström use paint marbling to summon the spirit of OFFSET, Dublin's annual design festival.

There's something incredibly satisfying about watching the speaker titles of this year's Dublin OFFSET festival, as vibrant, different coloured, thick paints coat the names of each designer as they emerge from an aquarium filled with water.

The concept came from Irish and Swedish design duo Matthew Bolger and Emelie Lidström. "We were asked by Dublin design conference OFFSET organisers Bren Byrne and Richard Seabrooke to design all the material for this year's festival," says Bolger.

"For the speaker titles, we wanted to create something colourful and fun which would be unique to each speaker and tie in to the OFFSET identity we had created so far this year."

The speaker titles of this year's Dublin OFFSET festival feature different paints coating the names of each designer as they emerge from an aquarium filled with water.

A marbled effect

To do this, the duo studied the concepts they'd already developed. "The printed material we initially created contained all these shapes to represent thoughts and ideas, which on the surface had the effect of a marbled spectrum of colours," explains Lidström.

"This reminded us of the technique of paint marbling where paint is dripped onto the surface of thickened water. We wanted to use the process of marbling, but rather than showing something already marbled we wanted to show the process, the moment when something transforms, to encapsulate the sense of joy and inspiration OFFSET champions."

The duo's research led them to a brand new type of marbling paint that can be used with clear water

"Through our research we found a brand new type of marbling paint that can be used with clear water, which allowed us to film this coating process," says Bolger. "Prior to this, we would have had to use a type of moss to prepare the water, which would have made it cloudy and impossible to film through."

The new paint, along with an aquarium filled with water, wooden laser cut text, a custom built lowering devide, tube lighting and a Canon 5D MK II with a 24-70mm lens, a polarisation filter and rubber lens hood to cut down on relfection enabled the design duo to create custom titles for each OFFSET speaker.

Each OFFSET speaker's name was created using wooden laser cut text

"As well as using the colour scheme from the other festival material we created, we looked at each speaker's work and used a colour combination of paints and backgrounds we felt suited each one," says Lidström.

"The most challenging aspect was the time consuming tasks of dealing with glass, water and paint. For example, the fact that the aquarium had to be emptied, cleaned, and refilled again after almost every name. There is always unexpected particles in water, as well as dealing with condensation, bubbles and refraction. Also, the marbling paint dries very quick so once it's mixed you have to work very fast."

Despite this, Bolger and Lidström were sure they could pull it off. Bolger comments: "When you're experimenting with a new process there's always an element of risk, but we were confident of the outcome."

Have you seen any inspirational identities recently? Let us know in the comments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kerrie Hughes is associate editor at Creative Bloq. Her employment at Future Publishing began in January 2010 as staff writer for 3D World magazine. Since then, she's written regularly for other publications, including ImagineFX and Computer Arts magazines.