2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Brand Identity, Film & Motion Graphics

Dynamic graphics introduce the annual ceremony honoring the best and brightest of independent film.

For the fourth year running, Pentagram designed the show packaging and graphics for the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the annual ceremony that recognizes the best and brightest in independent film. As in previous years, the 2018 graphics built on the branding Pentagram created for Film Independent, the non-profit organization that produces the awards. The Spirit Awards are one of the many components that make up Film Independent, and the organization’s branding, built around the custom typeface Font Independent, is used across all of its programming.

The Spirit Awards are held the day before the Academy Awards and presented in an oceanside tent in Santa Monica, all with a fun, free-wheeling atmosphere in contrast to the Oscars. The festivities were emceed by the comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, returning from 2017, and the honored films included “Get Out,” “Lady Bird” and “Call Me by Your Name.” 

Every year, the Pentagram team faces the challenge of how to use the identity in new and surprising ways, through type, color and movement, with past years’ approaches including type that stretches and zooms. For this year’s graphics, typographic patterns were fully integrated into every aspect of the event––from the design of the set, tickets and programs, to the animations playing across screens and on the broadcast, to the promotional campaign––creating an immersive environment of trippy, hypnotic repetitions and color mapped into three-dimensional landscapes.

The scale of the integration gave the show packaging a visual intensity that went beyond previous years. This was amplified by the set design, which was built of patterns of linked and concentric circles and radial lines––bringing the concept full circle, as it were. The pair of enormous circular screens on stage appeared to transform with the type, physically expanding and receding into the space, for a trompe l’oeil effect.

For the ceremony, the designers developed a new, thinner weight of the custom typeface Font Independent for the more than 20 bumpers that were used to introduce categories like Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Documentary Feature. Each category featured an abstract story about its theme: for instance, Best Cinematography rotates into a cylindrical, lens-like spiral; Best International Film ripples like a flag. The psychedelic concept was partially inspired by the laser backgrounds in high-school portraits, and also suggests lights glowing out of the darkness of a theater.

In his acceptance speech for the Best Director award for “Get Out,” we were pleased to hear Jordan Peele say, “I am so honored receiving this award here onstage on this Wakandan laundromat that you see before you.”

Previously: 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards, 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards, 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

New York
Emily Oberman
Project team
Todd Goldstein
Laura Berglund
Efrén Pagán
Anna Meixler
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