James Taylor (no, not that one) needed a logo, branding, a social strategy, a website, and basically all components necessary to launch his passion project, a jazz festival meant to breathe life into the Portland scene. Seriously behind on time, we built the brand from the ground up so that James could not just sell tickets and bolster the jazz community. I created the logo, branding, and website that will serve as a foundation for this festival as it grows into a big deal on the calendars of jazz fans everywhere.

James wanted the festival experience to feel like walking into a holiday in the Bahamas with colorful flags and an overall vacation vibe. The logo should also both celebrate Portland's jazz scene and acknowledge it's rocky foundation in the flooded city of Vanport. To accomplish this, I drew inspiration from Blue Note record label graphics contemporary with the time of the flood (1948), when fans looked to the record jacket for cues about the music inside (since you couldn't preview it). I've got hundreds of these records in my collection and find them hugely dynamic. So, I called my design direction 'Warm Vinyl'. Those letterforms are dancin' with three abstracted shapes: they could be a stack of records, piano keys, equalizer bars, anything. But here, they subtly underscore the fact that this here festival is in ORegon.


James said 'CARNIVALE!'. I edged him away from the RASTA colors he'd chosen, and brought in a BOSSA NOVA feel with beachy colors that I named things like 'sunset', 'water', and 'cactus'. Once he saw the image above, he envisioned the flags at his festival come to life.

SOCIAL media

James was a novice at social media. Our strategy pro, Emily Swinkels, outlined an extensive guidebook showing him how to message for all relevant social platforms. I began extending the logo's visual language into a brand for all the ways we communicate today.


I designed a temporary landing page so that the festival could immediately sell tickets. Basically a clickable poster, it bought us 2 weeks to build out PHASE 2, a full blown website with robust content that could scale with the festival over the years.



Once all the full content came rushing in, we had to re-assess our strategy: it was that clear a multi-page format would deliver a better user experience. We also needed to give some of the more sensitive content the breathing room it deserved. We included a new page devoted to the historically fraught relationship of Vanport, Portland itself, the jazz scene, and the flood. So, without adding any days to the timeline, we re-structured our one-pager into four. Although it was a ton of extra work beyond our scope, we knew we'd be thanking ourselves next year when even more content will come into play. Personally, I loved this client, and wanted our branding to bring his festival dreams to life, and do it right.

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