The New Yorker Festival


The 2020 New Yorker Festival was virtual for the first time this year and we were given the honor of whipping up a design system worthy of this storied institution. This included an anthem film to kickoff the event as well as a graphics package used during the livestream. ↗

In their own words, the New Yorker Festival is: “An eclectic mix of conversations, performances, and experiences, featuring some of the most talented and influential figures of our time.”

The first step was to find the right style for the event. The New Yorker is synonymous with haute culture and we wanted something that would feel at home in a Chelsea gallery or on the living room wall off Central Park. This colorful, loose, hand-painted style with nods to minimalist giants was used as the foundation for the film and all online promotions.

1. The Ecosystem ↓

The greatest challenge was to create a design and illustration language that would be flexible and adaptable to future needs. In order to achieve this we focused on the reduction of detail in the film to a shape and animation language that can easily support text, communication, and imagery.

2. Discovery ↓

In the early stages, we explored the look of the festival through a potential poster design.

‘Women in Leadership’ was one of the festival’s primary themes so we built a strong woman-led team to reflect that.

As we continued to explore and work collaboratively with the New Yorker, we all rallied behind illustrations that employed a big, bold, and minimalist use of color. Once we were striking the right tone, we pushed to abstract and reduce the visual language even more.

As we continued to reduce the visual language we eventually hit the Goldilock’s temperature of abstract minimalism. Instead of taxis, buildings, and subways we see color expanses carved up by kinetic paint strokes and fills.

This minimal style played well with the more formal work and allowed a fluid choreography and synesthesia in the film. It also provided us with the design building blocks that we would use in the final graphics package.



Executive Creative Director

Orion Tait

Executive Producer

Ryan McGrath

Creative Director

Jodi Terwilliger

Thomas Schmid


Mackenzie Alexander

Tracey McDonough


Mercy Lomelin

Paola Chen

Simone Noronha

Thea Glad

Concept Development

Carmel Gatchalian

Liron Eldar-Ashkenazi

Sofia Pashaei

Vero Gomez



Jose Fuentes