Moving Images, Clever Colours (Tiff 2019)

The Toronto International Festival (TIFF) began in the mid 70s and grew into a festival nearly as prestigious as Cannes. Aside from the annual festival, TIFF also runs a yearly program of events and in many ways, this is the focus of their 2019 report – an ongoing engagement with cinema.

Given the visual material TIFF has to work with, it’s no surprise the report is a treat. When you can use photographs from the films of giants like Scorsese, Joon-ho and Goddard, your annual report is going to look good. It would have been easy for the designers of the report to rest on these laurels, letting pictures of global cinema’s biggest stars do the heavy lifting. Instead, Rachelle Ribeiro and Steven Tachauer (art direction, design, and production) employ a subtle, clever design that elevates the entire report.

The report uses a 2-colour palette of purple and rust. Skillfully wielding a range of tones, Ribeiro and Tachauer use these two colours for all type on the page, as well as to create soft fields of colour to complement the imagery. The only blacks and whites you see are in the images from the films and this aspect of the report is well worth studying. (The designers do use black for corporate logos at the back of the report – presumably no client was willing to let them carry the design to its logical conclusion, but you can’t fault a designer for that.)

One oddity in the report is the cube on the cover with the Op Art vibrations. It’s a lovely piece of design and the gradient is a beautiful use of the colour palette. It seems a shame not to apply it as a design element elsewhere in the report. The other design elements are applied as thoughtfully as colour – type treatments and page grids are simple and elegant. This report eschews the often-pointless infographics and other visual clutter common in annual report design. In that respect, the designers of TIFF’s report are like cinema directors themselves, and our eyes follow precisely where they lead.

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