SVA Students Give Sundance Film Festival a Refreshed Look

Posted inBranding & Identity Design

The Sundance Film Festival takes place every year in Park City, Utah. Not only does the extravaganza bring together filmmakers showcasing (and selling) their warrs, but it offers forums and a community of support and inspiration. 

This year, the festival offers something a bit new—beyond the fact that it takes place online from January 20th through the 30th. Sundance returns with a refreshed look, and the brand identity for this year’s festival was created in collaboration with SVA’s Masters in Branding program. A select group of students from the Honors Branding Project developed the identity, including select alumni chaired by author and Design Matters podcast host Debbie Millman who chairs the Masters in Branding program. Additionally, Melinda Welch, Dr. Tom Guariello, and Mark Kingsley are the faculty group that picked the participants and directed the work.

While the branding program is no stranger to working with real-world clients to help reimagine a brand’s visual identity, having worked with brands such as MoMA and The Writers Lab in the past, this year’s project was a much more extensive scale project. 

The group began working on the project during the summer of 2020, so seeing the final result come to fruition a year and a half later makes the work seem all the more impressive and extraordinary. After months of working with the Sundance team and The-Collaboratory, alum Saloni Soni (class of 2014) is the designer whose work acted as the foundation for the final direction of the project. Nevertheless, the entire team worked on all touchpoints to create and design the final works. 

The branding system for this year’s Sundance Film Festival found inspiration in the idea of finding our place on Earth, both literal and physical. Because the Sundance Institute focuses on the discovery and promotion of new artists, the idea of focusing on the “current” and defining what it means to be “here” speaks to the organization’s background and experience. 

The result is an identity system shocked with vivid colors and patterns galore. In addition, the work that SVA and the Masters in Branding program created extends across the entirety of the festival, including merchandise, tickets, logos, and a range of additional graphics. 

There’s no doubt these students pulled out all the stops to ensure that the festival’s branding system reflects the creativity and power that the event sparks in audiences across the globe. 


Alumni Group: 

Saloni Soni, Designer

Dan Onufrishyn, Designer

Archie Bell, II, Strategist

Randy Gregory, Designer

Allison Braund-Harris, Designer & Strategist

Kim Weiner, Animator & Designer

Steph Millar, Strategist

Student Group: 

Kristen Branch, Designer

Chelsea Carlson, Designer

Courtney Duggan, Designer

Celine Han, Designer

Ryan Nguyen, Designer