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Banner posters designed for Ruhrtriennale on the streets

From pop to opera: the prestigious Ruhrtriennale

The Ruhrtriennale is an international arts festival that brings the industrial heritage sites of the Ruhr area of Germany to life every summer with music, theater, literature, and dance. From 2015 onwards, this prestigious festival falls under the artistic guidance of Dutch director Johan Simons. The theme for his three year cycle is “Seid umschlungen” (be embraced). We were chosen to communicate the social, political, and geographic currents of this to the festival audience and surrounding community. Following Simons’ motto, we wanted to focus on bringing the region together as well as engaging the viewer.

A typographic logo saying "we plus you equals us"
An illustration of two characters exchanging ideas

We tried to find a way of communicating that would grab the attention of a wide range of people, without ‘dumbing it down’.

Sander Vermeulen, Design Director
A Tower in the Ruhrtriennale festival at night
© Marcus Simaitis
A photo and a quote from Artistic Director Johan Simons on the goal of the communication strategy of Ruhrtriennale
© Stephan Glagla
An animation with an example of composition using the typography developed for Ruhrtriennale

So the campaign of the triennale is built around the idea of the sum: … + … = …

A simple game of associations, meant to be an open dialogue with its viewers.

Application of the posters designed for Ruhrtriennale on walls in a public space
Animation of the logo designed for Ruhrtriennale

We opted for an iconic, eye-catching typeface. Something that would be recognizable in any context.

Sander Vermeulen, Design Director
Two posters designed for Ruhrtriennale taped to the floor of a lane
A photo collage with a poster for Ruhrtriennale saying "Different" on a wall, and a woman holding a branded bag

The posters are not just something you merely look at. They are an open dialogue, inviting the viewer to read or interpret them as they wish.

Application of a poster designed for Ruhrtriennale quoting "Make Love and Make War" on a public building
A page of the website developed for Ruhrtriennale displayed on a tablet

The homepage of the Ruhrtriennale’s website uses two visual codes to distinguish the two different types of content. A simple rule differentiates news from events: the former is text-driven and vertical whereas the latter focuses on inspiring photography with practical information.

A photo collage with a man reading the branded map and a close-up of this map

The festival program is presented as a map, in both print and digital. Visitors are invited to help enrich the map, by adding their personal recommendations and tips about what to see or do.

Thierry Brunfaut, Creative Director & Partner
A quote from Artistic Director Johan Simons on the map designed for Ruhrtriennale
A group of friends taking a selfie near the building of the Ruhrtriennale festival

Visiting the region and the venues was amazing; it really left an impression. And it was great to see people embrace the visual identity.

A woman holding a Ruhrtriennale brochure for Arbeit Stinkt
The team of Ruhrtriennale dressed-up pausing together
© Edi Szekely

We are thrilled to start a three year adventure with this amazing team, led by the inspiring Johan Simons. The collaborative process was and still is a big success, all driven by different creative workshops.

A set of road signs showing the direction to different activities for Ruhrtriennale