The big stories and the little ones in between

Brisbane Writers Festival

The brief

When BWD Creative was approached by Zoe Pollock, the Brisbane Writers Festival’s dynamic CEO and Artistic Director, her brief was clear. BWF wanted to build new audiences for literature to ensure the ongoing vitality of this important event – and the art form it promotes. It was therefore critical that this year’s brand and marketing campaign not only helped retain the festival’s existing loyal audience, but also established a foundation for growing new audiences. The program, she explained, would feature a balance of current affairs, non-fiction and literary fiction, which would be presented through a series of lectures, conversations and panels at the State Library of Queensland, the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art.


The concept

Most importantly for us from a branding perspective, the centrepiece of the festival would be Alexis Wright’s critically acclaimed novel Carpentaria, that was celebrating its 10th anniversary. As an artistic tribute to this epic work, Zoe had commissioned Aboriginal artist Gordon Hookey to create an artwork for an immersive venue ‘Angel’s Palace’, inspired by Angel Day, a character in the book. It was obvious to us that Alexis Wright’s novel should be the first point of call for our inspiration. We were not disappointed.

“One evening in the driest grasses in the world, a child who was no stranger to her people, asked if anyone could find hope. The people of parable and prophecy pondered what was hopeless and finally declared they no longer knew what hope was. The clocks, tick-a-ty tock, looked as though they might run out of time. Luckily, the ghosts in the memories of the old folk were listening, and said anyone can find hope in the stories: the big stories and the little ones in between.”

Here it was! The extract offered a strong and compelling concept that perfectly captured the grand narratives or “bigger” stories that established writers bring to the festival as well as the bigger stories/topics making news currently. But it also captured the “little” stories that attendees who love books, reading and writing bring to any writers festival. With this as our conceptual framework, we then turned to Aboriginal dot paintings with their striking arrangements of large dots often surrounded by smaller dots, and used this as a visual metaphor for “the big stories and the little ones in between”.







Thank you to the BWF team for inviting us to be the festival’s creative partner and giving us the opportunity to work on this dream project. We’re looking forward to attending – and posting on – the big and little stories we come across this week. We’ll also be there to hear one of our own team members, GM Gethin Fisher, taking part in a panel on Understanding China. See you on LinkedIn, Instagram, FB and Twitter.

Derryn Heilbuth – MD & Creative Director
Katrina Pender – Design Director (Brisbane)
Sam Pearce – Account Director (Brisbane)


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