Domenic Lippa on designing the LDF identity for 15 consecutive years, including this one

What makes LDF a different kind of design challenge is the audience. “We are designing for ourselves and that can be tricky,” he explains. It also means a greater obligation to keeping things fresh. “If we didn’t, we would be picked up by other designers, the press and my partners,” he outlines. Although, after 15 years of annual iterations, Domenic adds: “I think they’re pretty bored of me presenting it at our partners meetings.”
When asked about leading the look of a festival that has hosted the best in design for decades, Domenic Lippa is the first to point out that it’s not the accomplishment we might claim. Quoting David Ogilvy – “Give me the freedom of a tight brief” – he likens the journey to being the art director of a monthly magazine, whereby you “develop a series of consecutive ideas” working with what you’ve established before. LDF is the paradigm of a taut working structure, which is partially imposed by Domenic, who sticks to a rigid red colour palette every year, “the colour of London”, says the Pentagram partner. As the festival gears up for its 20th anniversary event, taking place, as always, over nine days in September, Domenic talks us through this year’s identity, alongside the highs and lows of a tight brief.
The design agency attempts to change directions with the work each year – you can see the creative evolution of the identity by looking through the archive of previous editions, available for view on Pentagram’s site. “The first few years we were just finding our voice. But for me, 2011 was a great shift as the solution was so fresh and different.” 2011 was also the year Pentagram introduced a play on fragments and angles in the work, distorting and disrupting the typography. While hard to choose a favourite, another playful highlight for Domenic is 2014. That year, the design moved away from a typographic approach for the first time, adopting a maze graphic to invite users to lose themselves in the festival.

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