Screen Time | Tribeca Film Festival Award-Winning In-House Design

HOW In-House Design Awards 2018 Best of Show!

CATEGORY Entertainment

COMPANY Tribeca Film Festival   

WHAT WE LOVE The Tribeca Film Festival took a chance on its in-house design team in 2018, and the results were the absolute tops on all fronts.


See all the winners of the HOW In-House Design Awards 2018 in our Winner Galleries!

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The Tribeca Film Festival is known for showcasing the newest innovative works of film and experiences from artists around the world. The objective for the 17th annual festival was to make the event more relatable and to engage with a larger, more diverse audience.

Conceived in 2001, the festival collateral was historically designed by an outside agency, but for 2018, the festival’s in-house team pitched against an agency and won the project. “We knew there was so much potential for a small team to make exceptional work, especially with the in-house advantage, and we were thrilled to learn that our creative was selected to move forward,” says Eduardo Palma, Tribeca’s lead designer.

Sticking to the Script

Palma and his three teammates—Juan Miguel Marín, Luke Williamsand and Avni Jain—set out to talk about culture and storytelling in a more approachable and celebratory way, with the goal of bringing in audiences who would be interested in the programming but previously saw the festival as inaccessible.

This meant two things, says Palma: “Concept-wise, we wanted to react against the elitist, inaccessible approach to culture, and invite more people to join the conversation. On a more pragmatic level, we wanted to push the conversation beyond film and address storytelling as the main protagonist of the festival, in order to talk about the whole range of verticals (TV, talks, VR, games and music). With these goals in mind, the team created a fresher and more open-ended visual language, taking cues from an actual script as inspiration and aiming to inspire audiences to perceive daily life the way a visionary director would.

“As we decided to address storytelling (instead of just film), we started thinking about what its physical representations were,” Palma says. “Following that path, we got to the script both as language and as an object. From the language standpoint, we started playing around with all the commands you can find in a script (‘fade out,’ ‘zoom in,’ etc.).” Next, they started creating new language by mixing some of the verbs with different adverbs. Through this, they found an interesting way to speak directly to the audience, and to open paths of interpretation into the campaign. “We also thought of this methodology as a way of addressing the other verticals, by incorporating actions that suggested other kinds of storytelling (verbs such as ‘dive,’ ‘tune,’ ‘speak’),” Palma says.

Every design decision was informed by the script as an object. For example, the color palette is that of actual printed scripts. The layouts and type treatment follow suit. The layering, however, comes from the idea of the Tribeca Film Festival experience being as complex as you want: You can just go and watch a film, but you can also make your festival experience richer by attending a talk or other event. As you start adding some complexity to the way you experience the festival, what you get from it is going to be more meaningful, more interesting. Same goes for the campaign pieces.

Reinventing a Classic

Every single printed piece, animation frame, online ad, apparel graphic, screen card and environmental graphic was made by hand. The process consisted of printing each layer on letter-size colored office paper (the same paper used for screenplay drafts in the film industry) using a standard laser printer. “We would then rip everything by hand and scan the results,” Palma says. “There were no further steps other than tweaking the brightness and contrast slightly. We really wanted to stay true to the feeling of the script.”

While in some cases the process of production was very straightforward, there were instances where it became a huge undertaking, particularly with the frame-by-frame animations where each frame is a collage of its own with up to 60 layers. Palma says the challenge this posed pushed the team to produce some of the campaign pieces of which they are most proud.

The campaign was well-received by the client, in part because the in-house design team worked hand in hand with the marketing director over the course of the project’s development. “The nature of our effort being an in-house production allowed us a level of transparency and honest dialog that made us more confident in our creative direction along the way and ensured our client would be happy in the end given their proximity to the various creative stages,” Palma says.

The public and festival attendees loved the vibrancy of the campaign elements, evidenced by many social media posts featuring enthusiastic POV documentation and more than a few selfies in front of posters and murals. Campaign merchandise sold out in the first few days of the festival.

“As a team, we are proud that we were given a chance to prove to the internal teams the potential of their in-house staff,” Palma says. “We hope that the success of this campaign marks a creative and strategic shift for the festival moving forward, encouraging those in staffing and resourcing roles to rethink what’s possible.”


This project won Best of Show in the HOW In-House Design Awards for 2018. 

Tribeca Film Festival 2018 Campaign

Tribeca Film Festival, Creative Department, New York City; www.tribecafilm.com: Eduardo Palma, Luke Williams, Juan Miguel Marín, Avni Jain (creative team)

Are you or your team ready to join the ranks of these winners? Submit your project for the 2019 HOW In-House Design Awards today!

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