Helping bring music to life with a local jazz festival

Playing host to hundreds of world-class artists, the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival takes over the City of Saskatoon for multiple days each summer.

The festival, which is the second largest of its kind in Western Canada, brings together tens of thousands of music fans to celebrate the sweet sounds of jazz, funk, blues, pop, and world music. 

The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival had previously worked with an agency in the U.S., however wanted to bring more local flavour to their brand, and really encapsulate the feeling of the festival within the Saskatoon community.

The team at the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival came to Rock & Bloom with a clear vision for how they wanted to position the festival within the community. They wanted to get people excited about coming together, discovering new music, and supporting local venues. From 2018 to today, we’ve collaborated with the team to uphold their vision and help bring the music to life.

The Problem

One of the first challenges that we addressed was how to position and market the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, so that it could focus on locality, as well as building a sense of community and inclusivity. 

Since the festival spans such a large and diverse audience, we needed to ensure that it could appeal to a broad range of people. We needed to clearly communicate that the festival showcases a variety of genres, while shifting the focus towards the Saskatoon community and provincial pride. 

Throughout the years, one goal has remained the same – to bring people together to support local talent through the use of relevant, engaging content and exciting, eye-catching designs.

The Scope

The project scope included:

  • Key messaging & personas  
  • Print & digital design
  • Concept development 
  • Design collateral – including hundreds of different deliverables
  • Merchandise strategy
  • Video development
  • Website updates

The Process

  1. Visual Concept

The project scope had a heavy emphasis on concept development. We had to figure out a way to creatively design a feeling, a vibe, and an experience using our visuals. These visuals are repurposed throughout the festival with over hundreds of deliverables from social media templates, signage, the website, and finally, the main poster visual.

The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is a well-known event, with an already established brand. Our job was to ensure that the brand was consistent across platforms, and that the visual story was strong and resonating with the right audiences.  

Our relationship with the festival team is extremely open and collaborative. Over time, we’ve cultivated a strong partnership that has resulted in an even stronger brand.  

  1. Design

The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival’s visual identity evolves and grows with each passing year. From design, to the colour palette, to the use of shapes and textures, each year the festival takes on a new vibrant personality.

It’s a welcomed challenge to come up with fresh and exciting designs each year, while still representing the core values and underlying brand identity of the overall festival. Our design team has mastered the art of creating compelling designs that tell the story of Jazz Fest, yet still reignite the excitement of the festival each year.

  1. The 35th Anniversary

This year marked a special milestone for The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival – the 35th anniversary of the fan-favourite event. 

With that in mind, we needed to collaborate with the festival team to come up with a design that would encompass 35 years of tradition, music, and community. 

Inspired by iconic legends such as the Rat Pack, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald, the design we came up with has a nostalgic and vintage feel to it; the typeface is reminiscent of old-timey jazz cafes. The colour scheme is subtle, yet distinct, creating a warm and inviting feeling. 

As part of the merchandise strategy, we came up with the idea to put together a set of exclusive 35th anniversary prints. Since not everyone wants a t-shirt, we loved the idea of celebrating 35 years of music by becoming fixtures in people’s homes.

The print collection features four unique prints honouring classic Saskatchewan Jazz Festival venues around the city.With a vintage look designed for comfort, the anniversary t-shirt is the perfect memento, celebrating 35 years of music in our amazing community.

  1. Outcomes & Continued Collaboration 

Our work with the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival team has been a true partnership that will hopefully continue long into the future. Honoring their vision and bringing the music to life through different avenues, has been both challenging and deeply rewarding. We look forward to what the next years bring.  
Check out the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival website to snag some merch, buy tickets, and for more information about this Saskatoon summer staple.