Archtober stands as a year-round celebration of architecture and design, fostering a deep connection between communities and the built environment. Established in 2010 as an annual month-long festival, this platform has evolved into a resource for happenings in NYC. Collaborating with an extensive network of partners, Archtober presents an array of events that include tours, lectures, workshops, panels, and exhibitions.
Our collaboration with Archtober began in 2020 during the 10th annual festival. Since then we have helped craft a year round presence [link to yr cs] for the festival as well as designed and built a new festival site and brand each year. Each annual festival embraces a unique personality.
In 2020, for the anniversary we paid homage to 9 years prior, creating a visual language of building blocks inspired by elements of the past festival’s brands. This tetris-like motif adorned the site and marketing materials, honoring Archtober's rich history. The following year, 2021, as we transitioned out of the pandemic, events were mixed between virtual and in person. In response, an 8-bit style brand emerged, featuring pixelated illustrations of iconic buildings from New York's boroughs. Introducing an online merch store marked a pivotal step forward. Collaborating with Omnivore in 2022, a 'through the looking glass' theme unfolded and bold, trippy colors splashed across the site.
The Challenge: Bridging Divides
This year, Archtober aspired to propel its presence further. We led strategy sessions with their team to delve deep into how we envisioned the festivals trajectory for the next decade. We sought a unifying theme for this years festival that could not only inspire events and exhibitions but also captivate attention and press coverage. Thus emerged the theme "Bridging Divides." This theme aimed to highlight a commitment to inclusivity, innovation, and a profound understanding of connections within the architecture and design in NYC and the surrounding built environment.
Contemplating the theme of interconnectedness within the city, we envisioned an invisible, woven web that connected the city as a whole. Sidewalks, subways, streets, bridges, waterways, and structures - each a thread interlacing disparate neighborhoods, communities, and spaces together. We imagined landmarks across NYC transformed into vibrant illustrations featuring giant flowing ribbons intertwining and twisting around these iconic structures, forging connections.
The illustrative style, detailed and highly graphic, drew inspiration from New York City. Injecting life into these depictions, a human element played with scale and was a nod to the liveliness of the city and its dwellers. The color palette eye-dropped directly from the city’s landscape, the contrasting shadows cast by the tall buildings, the warm terracotta brick and stone, the blueish concrete, steel, and glass and the green space in between. While the ribbons were vibrant and contrasting in color, filled with sweeping energy and pulled from Archtober’s core palette.
These bespoke illustrations became focal points across the festival's materials - from the website to digital and print ads, emails, and more. The website's home page and event and exhibition calendars, were skinned with the brand artwork and colors.
The emphasis on custom artworks expanded the merchandise offerings to posters and puzzles, as well as Stepping into the Center for Architecture, visitors encountered an installation mimicking wheatpaste posters, adorning walls and continuing across bulletin boards. Virtual sale integration complemented the physical installation, inviting engagement with festival merchandise. Archtober's evolution showcased not just a theme but a vibrant tapestry, weaving connections and inspiring inclusivity within the architectural world and its community.
Working with Greater for the past five years has changed how we think about collaboration. Alex and Jon have repeatedly gone above and beyond to help shape how we think about our own work and what Archtober can achieve, helping us expand and improve not only our outputs but our internal workflows and processes.