We conquered the south with Channel 4’s London Upfront back in July 2018, an event that won a drum award for the B2B Experiential Brand Campaign/Event of the year. Late last year we were tasked with the challenge of reinvigorating the identity to fit the second Upfront of the year -Nations & Regions in Manchester. Rouge Events curated and produced the event for 4Sales, whilst we worked to creatively design the event branding & collateral.

The result was a brand which not only aligned with the Channel 4 ethos, but also matched the unique character and edgy vibe of the venue – the renowned Albert Hall. Described as “a forgotten Wesleyan chapel in the centre of Manchester, restored and resurrected as an unrivalled events venue.” This is where the premise and influence of the style began.

Rebecca, our Senior Designer had this to say: “When Channel 4 approached us with their venue for the Nations and Regions Upfront, the team and I were instantly excited. We felt the music venue was a real asset to lean on when setting the style and creating the brand, a brand which not only reflected the Nations & Regions but Channel 4’s whole ethos. I was absolutely thrilled with the opportunity to lead on the project and encourage the design team to go offline and really push their creative limits. I have an absolute passion for branding so designing such a large event, for the second time for Channel 4 was an absolute dream.”

Look and feel

Following a site visit, we were tasked with setting the style for the event. We individually explored different design avenues which we thought showed off Channel 4’s unique offering whilst still complimenting the venue, and then came together to collaborate on the final style.  

Channel 4 is known for their “Risky not Reckless” approach to broadcasting, so it seemed only fitting to ensure the event branding echoed this. We distressed Channel 4 messaging by crumpling, ripping and even running the typography under the tap, thus creating the events unique identity. This bespoke adaptation to the type was uniquely made keeping the venue in mind. We then digitised the type to bring it in line with the new 4Sales colour palette.

Pushing the identity

The identity didn’t stop there… We created programme artwork in the style of gig posters in a bid to complement the vibe of the venue. Doing this allowed us to bring programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, Derry Girls and Shipwrecked (to name but a few) to life through an alternative music style. The challenge was to make the posters feel music lead but still being represetative of the programme. 

Our Designer, Meg talks about developing the music style programme posters; “Creating the gig style posters for the event was so much fun. I take a lot of inspiration from music and the artwork used within it in a lot of my personal work, so using this in a more corporate setting was very exciting. After years of going to gigs myself, I had an idea of how I wanted each poster to look, and it was really good fun changing up the programme imagery to fit in with the venue. They also helped me to add even more depth to the ripped texture used across the other event branding.”

Going offline

Creating the posters was great but we wanted to do more. To ensure that there was an added depth to the branding we used ripped up variations of the posters across a giant panel. The aim of this was to highlight the Channel 4 identity and its famous faces and talent, but interlinking that with the gig fly postering feel running throughout the event.

Meg our Designer discussed her part in the event design; “Working on the different effects for the Upfront event was an extremely fun and rewarding process. It felt great to get off the screen and produce something physical. Firstly, experimenting with a variety of paint textures and then moving on to producing a large-scale collage full of faces from Channel 4 programmes. The challenge then came when transforming this textured, ‘grungy’ piece of artwork into a flat vinyl. It was important for me to retain the depth of the piece, so I continued to layer the images up digitally, adding in some other posters that we created for the event to keep everything consistent. I thoroughly enjoyed making this piece and I felt it suited the venue perfectly and came together so cohesively with the other imagery used.”

On the night

The whole Single Malt team graced the Albert Hall with their presence to see our artwork in all its glory. We were lucky enough to be invited by Rouge Events to help art direct the poster placement and then luckily, we got to watch Alex Mahon, CEO of Channel 4, among others, discuss what’s next for the broadcaster and how they are still advocating and pushing diversity across their range of channels. We were really proud to see how our branding complemented the event and how it made such an impact across the evening, it was definitely a moment that will stick with us. We can’t wait for our next opportunity to work with Rouge Events and Channel 4.