Halifax Jazzfest: Atlantic Canada’s Oldest Jazz Festival

This past Spring I had the honour of designing the main promotional image for the 30th Annual Halifax Jazzfest festival. It felt so rewarding to have the opportunity to design for such a well-known and loved event.

The Halifax Jazz Festival is the oldest jazz festival and largest summer festival in Atlantic Canada. The festival is a cultural hallmark event for Halifax, attracting up to 55,000 attendees, involving 450 volunteers and employing over 350 local musicians each year. 


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The Festival, founded by a non-profit organization called JazzEast Rising, was created in 1987 to present the first ever Jazz Festival in Nova Scotia.

Over the past 30 years, JazzEast has brought renowned artists from all over the world to Halifax Jazzfest, while also developing opportunities for amateur musicians. JazzEast believes that Jazz is an essential part of the culture in Halifax and they are committed to keeping that culture alive and well. 


The Creative Process for Halifax Jazzfest 2017

The concept of the main image for the Jazz Festival was born in an unlikely place; months before I knew I would be working on the project. On a cold winter night, I was walking along the Halifax waterfront and found the lights along the harbour to be so mesmerizing. It was freezing cold, but I couldn’t resist taking a few snaps of the lights and how they were reflecting into the water below; they had a beautiful visual quality of rhythm and flow.


Fast forward to Spring, and I get a call from the Halifax Jazz Festival. I was absolutely thrilled to hear that they wanted me to help them design the main image for their festival this summer.

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I was given a couple of parameters to work within.

The design needed to fit seamlessly within their collection of past festival artwork as well as be easily adaptable to multiple formats; anything from billboards to web applications to festival badges and passes.


After getting off the phone with the Halifax Jazzfest folks, I immediately knew the direction I was going to take with the creative. I knew that the image I took months earlier would serve as the perfect inspiration for the creative.

The Festival happens along the waterfront and I wanted the design to visually depict the sounds, the mood and most importantly, the location of the festival. I started by sketching out my idea, making sure that the concept would work and then translated the idea into Illustrator to make the formal presentation to the Jazz Festival board.


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The Final Outcome

The folks at the Jazz Fest immediately fell in love with the concept. They were impressed that it captured the feel of the festival while staying true to their established brand. After just a few minor tweaks, the artwork was approved. The entire creative process happened quite fast. From conception to completion the project was wrapped and ready for market within three days. 


It was such a rewarding feeling to see the artwork I created for the Jazz Festival plastered all around the city. It was an incredible honour to have had the opportunity to design for a prestigious event that contributes such vibrancy and buzz to Halifax’s cultural scene. I am so proud to work with organizations that are making Halifax the wonderful place that it is to live. 


To view the full project, you can find the full summary of it here. 

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I was lucky enough to get in on a little bit of the fun at the closing show of the Jazz Festival; There were SO MANY people out and enjoying the sweet sounds from the Mellotones. 


Finally, I want to extend a HUGE congrats to the organizers of the Halifax Jazz Festival on another festival of great music and world-class artists.


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