At the beginning of the year we were chosen to design the artwork for the Coconino County Fair here in Flagstaff, AZ. What exciting news! Who doesn't like going to the Fair? We couldn't have found a more fun project to work on. We were also excited to do more local work and knowing that our artwork for the County Fair would be all over Flagstaff and seen by many people gave us even more motivation to create something really unique.
The first hurdle we came across though was the logo. A couple of years ago our client, Coconino County Parks & Recreation, had set up a logo that was supposed to be reused for at least 10 years. While the concept was really fun, the actual logo was a bit challenging to use. The issue was that it's made up off a bunch of different illustrations making up the word FAIR. Because of that, scaling down the logo and adding it somewhere smaller was impossible since it would lose readability. Looking at the past year's designs, we felt that the layout was lacking a focal point and that there were just too many competing elements. We felt that either the headline or the Fair logo should take precedence over the other. Creating separate logos for each one just made it hard to focus on one thing.
We felt that that if you just glanced at the layout it should offer an instant read. Think about driving by a poster for the Fair and you just have a couple seconds to look at it and figure out what it is about. What do you think should stand out? You want people to instantly know what the poster is for, in this case the Fair. Everything else, such as the tagline or the date is secondary. So our solution was to make the word FAIR the hero, but have the design communicate what the tagline or theme is about and therefore creating an instant read and cohesive look. We achieved that by creating a logo lock-up that included all the important information and also established a hierarchy.
The tagline or theme our client had picked for this year's Fair was "There's Magic in the Fair". We brainstormed for a long time, trying to come up with different ideas of how to translate the theme into a compelling visual. The idea that stood out the strongest to us in the end, was the emotional connection we wanted to make. We wanted to instantly bring back the warm, fuzzy feeling, that memory that so many of us have of going to the Fair as a kid for the first time. The magic of seeing a roller coaster for the first time, the smell of the delicious fair treats, the music and the lights, and the special time spent there with our families. So we tried to capture that magical moment by using an illustration of a little girl on her dad's shoulders, walking into the fair for the very first time. It's just at that time of the day when the sun goes down, the colors of the sky changes and the first stars are becoming visible. The time when all the lights come on and everything together creates a beautiful "magical" atmosphere.