On the rails

Railfest 2012

A fine balance had to be kept between trains, people and festival elements. According to managing director Jim Richardson, Sumo would have liked to incorporate more stalls and rides into the illustration

Newcastle-based agency Sumo has been steaming ahead with work to promote Railfest 2012, a nine-day event taking place at York's National Railway Museum next June, which will offer an expected 65,000 visitors train rides, music, stalls and the chance to peek inside the cabs of some of the museum's historic locomotives. "We had limited photography of some of the locomotives, in very different styles, and we also felt photography wouldn't capture the real spirit of the event," says Sumo managing director Jim Richardson. "So illustration gave us the flexibility to evoke the fun and energy of Railfest. In the end, the lack of photography steered us to create something that challenged typical rail promotion material."

Using the existing tracks in the Railfest logo as a starting point, the Sumo team - creative director Sarah Hanley, senior designer Gavin Downey, and designers Natalie Zabrocki and Michael Sutton - aimed to appeal to families by showing bright colours, bunting and children having fun around the trains. The final design will appear in press adverts, and on leaflets and outdoor posters in the run-up to the festival next year.

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