Hello! What do we have here? Why, it's a New Year's party! But a search? What's been lost? The Search comes from a bunch of people who enjoy putting musical experiences together in beautiful places for as cheaply as enjoyably possible. No one organising walks away with a cent - they trade in senses instead. As such, they host New Year's parties on a farm in Caledon with the best music they can source, with the best sound they can muster. Participants in any field are invited, whether artistic or culinary, to play a part in the party. The whole thing is word-of-mouth — only friends of friends can be invited!
Thom Drier (PUPIL Visuals)
Design + Process
After attending the previous year's Search (the third one, and the first to take on its current recognisable structure) I knew I had to join in — it is easily one of the most sincere spaces of celebration I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Fortunately the person who started it is a good friend, and I was given Search 2015/2016 as a design job. I set out on creating an aesthetic for them to use now and in future, one that is loose yet confident. I found this exact meeting point between the two in a photo I took on a roadtrip some years ago: a skeletal, wobbly structure (possibly the leftovers of a gazebo) that stood alone, overlooking a dam. It seemed otherworldly, like an entry into a different dimension or the relic of a pagan ritual; it was perfect. With this as my foundation, I explored a mix of underground club styles (particularly 90s cloud rave scene, or "reach for the sky oh wow" aesthetics) and this idea of a scratch card, of something being rubbed down to reveal a truth. I mixed this down with my own photography and, well... SEARCH happened.
It started with this mythical photograph…
Which, after throwing it into Illustrator, quickly became this intriguing shape…
And after fooling around with a few execution styles…
I ended up with this logomark…
Which was then expanded into this aesthetic.
This exercise continued for the poster designs until I hit a sweet spot (after which no more changes were allowed 😉 )
General Line-Up Poster.
Name tags (to show who’s boss).
A map of the festival (made while sitting in an open field with only half-a-bar of phone reception, desperately trying to send this off to the Facebook event wall).
The Search’s main stage, designed by Thom Drier (of PUPIL visuals) and built by anyone they could get their hands on (special thanks to the practical know-how of The Red Telephone crew) turned into a hypnotising 3D-mapped habitat at night. Here’s a video (shot by Thom Drier) documenting the building process from start to finish (I even have a little cameo near the end – hey there, me!)
The festival was incredibly well received. This project was one of the most satisfying I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on – somewhat for the role I got to play in design, but mainly for the quality of input that was provided from everybody involved.