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Stern Grove Festival: Combining music and nature



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Since 1938, the Stern Grove Festival has been regularly held at a beautiful park in the center of San Francisco. The festival’s organizing association offers admission-free performing arts events with the aim of providing an available musical experience for everyone. The artists who perform here represent a wide range of musical genres.

Managed by the leaders of the new generation now, the Stern Grove Fest has adopted a more modern identity, aspiring to extend its influence at the international level. Carrying out a redesign, the brand wants to build on the image of the hippie culture, which is long associated with San Francisco, to have a more versatile audience that still includes adepts from previous generations.

Now, the Grove focuses on the asset that makes the event really unique: its location. Surrounded by eucalyptuses, viewers can enjoy music while communicating with nature. Realizing the fragility of nature, the festival is committed to respecting its natural environment. As an official statement says, the Stern Grove Festival recognizes that it is located on the non-conceded land of the Ramaytush Ohlone people, who understood the interconnection of everything and maintained harmony with nature for thousands of years.

So it’s only natural that the new symbol of the brand is inspired by a tree silhouette. Showcasing a circular design, it emphasizes the social character of the festival. This is an expressive signature that turns into a real graphic equalizer in an animated version, echoing any kind of music through a special app. Given the festival’s atmosphere, the logo is meant to be more dynamic, keeping its authenticity. And this concept allows it to convey the essence of the event beloved by devoted fans.

The Grove’s new typography similarly reflects the spirit of the festival, as the brand’s GT Ultra typeface features smooth serifs that make the letters look a bit like tree trunks. In this case, the use of a serif font makes communication more humanist, giving it a tint of vintage style.

The color palette is dominated by shades of spruce green, yellow-green, and white. This color combination works well, while some additional colors provide interesting flexibility in the identity, which is especially comfortable for future illustrators who will design visuals for each of the future editions. In this regard, the 2023 Stern Grove Festival presented surprisingly nice posters demonstrating truly unique hues and textures.

Amid these graphic elements, including badges, posters, billboards, and other carriers of the visual identity, there is typographic eccentricity, which surely deserves your attention. In some cases, the letterings overlap each other, creating a striking effect. And this is only one of the multiple applications of this identity, giving a breath of fresh air to the cultural experience of San Francisco.

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