Dark Mofo

Turning to Face
the Mystery



2021 — 2023



resurrection cross

NUDE SOLSTICE SWIM 2022

Founded in 2013 by creative director Leigh Carmichael, and now approaching its tenth edition, Dark Mofo is an arts festival that takes place annually, during winter, in Tasmania. Inspired by Dionysian ritual, the solstice, and the darkness that lies within, Dark Mofo has become globally recognised as one of the most innovative and uncompromising events on the cultural calendar. It has also helped redefine the city of Hobart and place this small city at the bottom of the world under a bright red spotlight.

dark mofo title treatment


city activations

reclamation walk

In late 2021, Heath joined the team at Dark Mofo’s parent studio DarkLab to take on the role of art director. Under this title, he is responsible for creating the seasonal branding for each edition of the festival, and overseeing the rollout of this branding through its social media channels, marketing initatives, staff uniforms, venue signage, and more.

OGGH OGGH : THE PURGING

NIGHT MASS : TRANDSCENDENCE

BORDERLANDS

CELESTIAL BED



BILL VIOLA : INVERTED BIRTH



BLACK SHEEP WALL

KIM GORDON


Working closely with the arts and music curation teams, as well marketing, communications, and a variety of other stakeholders, Heath sought to honour the legacy of the festival and help continue to keep it relevant and push it into new territory.

The brief comes with a particular set of requirements. Each seasonal branding must use the colours red and black, and they must also feature the use of an equlilateral cross.

nude solstice swim caps


nude solstice swim caps in use


nude solstice swim caps in use

While the festival has continued to bind itself to a particular set of ideas and interests throughout the past decade, each edition comes with its own thematic focus. For 2022, this was resurrection.

Early conversations with Leigh Carmichael about this theme revealed a much broader idea of rebirth than the classical Christian association with the word resurrection. Discussed were images that ranged from a germinating seed pushing its way through the earth, to a star being born in deep space.

Heath took these notions and used them to inspire the design of the cross. Its form is less an object and more an event, specifically a tear through the fabric of life itself, the opening between birth (red) and death (black).



 FLAGS ON THE STREETS OF HOBART

FLAGS ON THE STREETS OF HOBART



FLAGS ON THE STREETS OF HOBART



This mark is supported by a typographic system that links to the concept. Chosen for it’s strong association with the visual history of the festival and it’s surprising versitility, the font Regola by Formula Type was used in an unconvential and often challenging way. As if the very words themselves are being activated and broken up by coming into contact with the “resurrection cross” they are expanded or exploded into nearly illegible forms. 

This type system and cross are complimented by an image treatment that uses a bright, noisy gradient, giving the impression that the images are either coming out of the great cosmic engine, or returning to it.

mobile website — event information

desktop website — kim gordon artist page

desktop website — cate le bon artist page

desktop website — festival lineup page

desktop website — festival lineup page

For the first time in the festival’s history, a comprehensive social media campaign was created that included assets delivered to all individual artists. While a selection of these were delpoyed on the official Dark Mofo channels, the rest were given to the artists with a user guide. 

This project turned out to be hugely successful, with many high profile acts chosing to use their assets and also share images of merchandise, the festival’s printed program, and more by their own accord.


social media asset collection

festival artists social sharing


featured artists boris sharing tote bags

In addition to all of the public facing work that was produced, a huge amount of internal design and strategy work was developed, which included presentations, security passes, and more. The challenges of creating a cohesive system like this was not insigificant, but was incredibly rewarding.


street flag

“Dark Mofo has long been influenced and inspired by the Dionysian energies of chaos, wild nature, theatre, ritual madness and religious ecstasy.

For the ancient Greeks the God Dionysus was a symbol of inexhaustible life, ever flowing and renewing through the cycles of birth, death and rebirth. He reveals an intoxicating insight into the reality of what is happening everywhere, and all of the time. Nature is constantly moving toward death, and resurrection”.


winter feast signage


community activation

One of the most exciting aspects of the festival is seeing the way that the council and community get on board. During the two weeks in which the festival is run, businesses and personal homes alike switch on red lights, bathing the entire city in a crimson glow.


 airport signage — photo by rosie hastie


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Dark Mofo


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