Mother Design's identity for Netflix Comedy festival is uniquely Angeleno

As comedians took over LA this May, Mother Design delivered graphic design with a punchline for organisers Netflix.

Have you noticed how important stand-up specials have become on Netflix in the last few years? It seems like, with comedians unable or unwilling to perform their normal material on mainstream TV, more and more people are heading to streaming services for unfiltered, often offensive comedy shows.

Netflix has taken full advantage of the opportunity, as the cost of screening a live special is far lower than that of high-production dramas and movies that might simply bomb and find no interest among a public split between several TV platforms.

More recently, they've started getting involved at ground level, with The Netflix Is A Joke comedy festival kicking off in 2022. It's quickly become one of the biggest events in Los Angeles, featuring over 300 shows across 35 venues, with top comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, and the cast of Big Mouth taking part.

For the festival's 2024 edition from May 2-12, Netflix partnered with design agency Mother Design to create a fun, irreverent visual identity fitting for the comedy extravaganza.

Sticker solution

Because of the festival's impact in Los Angeles, supporting local comedy venues and giving back to the LA community, Mother Design focused its efforts on ensuring the design and tone of the new visual identity felt uniquely Angeleno.

With this in mind, they crafted a "self-vandalistic design" system called Slap, Stick, which plays off LA's guerilla sticker culture, using stickers as a way to disseminate information in an entertaining, chaotic way layered on top of the festival's official branding. The black-and-white stickers feature deadpan phrases like "You can't spell 'laugh' without 'LA' and 'ugh'", "Comedy ft. jokes", and "Take a break from crying".

"The answer to most questions about design is obvious," says Elliot Vredenburg, associate creative director at Mother Design. "But Netflix posed a question we hadn't been asked before: Is graphic design funny? By attacking Swiss modernism with a pricing gun, we made the system deadpan, dead simple, and dead easy to use."

The self-aware, self-deprecating visuals were designed to be placed guerrilla-style across LA – on garbage trucks, building facades, billboards, and even performers themselves. And they fully embraced the dry, tongue-in-cheek humour fitting for a comedy festival branded as "the world's biggest laugh."

All in all, Betsy Dickerson, copy lead at Mother Design, did a great job in capturing an authentically Angeleno tone, while the playful visuals brought some much-needed humour to the often overly serious world of graphic design.


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