San Francisco International Film Festival

Crafting an identity for cinematic discovery and innovation

As a collaborative partner, Method has helped the San Francisco Film Society over several years to create the visual identity for their highly anticipated annual event, the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF). Method has helped attract a growing, targeted audience for the festival, while also helping the SFIFF to celebrate a historic 50-year benchmark and creating a progressive, award-winning visual identity.

www.sffs.org

Challenge

Founded in 1957 by the San Francisco Film Society, the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation. It is the longest-running film festival in the Americas and features 200+ films and live events over two weeks, drawing a diverse audience of more than 80,000 attendees.

As one of San Francisco’s oldest traditions, SFIFF faces the challenge of conveying its message to new audiences each year in a fresh way, as well as delighting its longtime supporters.

As a collaborative partner, Method has helped SFIFF craft an award-winning identity over multiple projects and years to communicate the passion and scope of this highly anticipated annual event.

Approach

Method kicked off its relationship with SFIFF in 2006. Entering its 49th year, the festival wanted to update its image and attract a broader audience, including young, tech-savvy filmgoers. Guided by the year’s theme of “Transformation,” Method designed an elegant visual system to express the transformative experience of watching film as well as how technology is changing the way people create, access, and experience movies. These new visuals appeared across a broad range of venues and media, including the SFIFF website, T-shirts, event signage, newspaper and web banner ads, attendee badges, and other applications.

The campaign was a success, doubling the number of sold-out screenings. Sponsorship increased by 41%, and membership in the film society posted a 30% increase in that year alone.

The following year, SFIFF became the first American film festival to reach the 50th year benchmark. Method used gold as the primary color focus in tribute to this momentous anniversary with vivid, jewel-like colors for contrast. The bright, floating circles from the previous year’s design became 50 expansive spheres drawn with fine lines, which interacted across dynamic and static media. By mixing stable elements (the logotype, grid structure, and black-and-white film stills) and changeable ones (the accent colors and graphic elements), the brand system took on a new, fresh look and feel, with the previous years’ look both reinforcing and extending the energetic and progressive brand.

In 2010, Method partnered with SFIFF again, now in its 53rd year. Looking for an original design concept to refresh excitement around the festival, Method developed an emotionally charged direction, using dramatic photography from the films, layers of transparent colors, and a series of hand-drawn quotes written for each film image. This unique, hand-written type emphasized the expressive quality of the language while introducing a richer narrative when layered on top of compelling film stills.

Outcome

The resulting identity highlights the breadth of films shown during the festival, while drawing out the range of depth and emotion from the films. Applied to everything from San Francisco bus shelters, special event invites and festival program guides to the film trailers, print ads and website, this new visual direction elevated SFIFF’s identity in a surprising and delightful way, successfully captivating new audiences and re-engaging existing film-goers

Graphis Poster Annual

Gold
2007

Webby Awards

Official Honoree
2007

Communication Arts Design Annual

Winner, Motion Graphics
2006

Step Inside Design Awards

Winner
2007

Print Regional Design Annual

Winner
2007

Rebrand 100

Merit
2007