Development Research Blog

Examination of the role of web and app design in fostering innovation and creativity in promoting cultural events.

The creative industries made a significant contribution of nearly $3 trillion to global GDP in 2020. However, their potential to foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth in emerging markets is often overlooked, particularly when compared to traditional sectors like natural resource extraction, manufacturing, and financial services.

Web and app design is an ever-evolving field that changes and adapts to user preferences and technological innovation. New trends emerge every day that have an impact on the user experience when visiting a website or app. In this blog, we will look at some of the current trends and their impact on the promotion of cultural events.

Minimalism has been one of the main trends in the designs in recent years. It features a simple, clean, and functional design that is focused on content. Minimalist websites are easy to navigate and provide clear information to users. This style combines aesthetics with content gathered on the page, resulting in an easier user experience and faster page loading.

Besides minimalism, bold colour palettes are another notable trend. Until recently, they were often used in the construction of logos and graphic elements, but now they are also finding a place in web and app design in general. Bold colours attract the user’s attention and can express the mood and feelings of the brand or website. However, it is important to use them in a balanced way so that they do not make the content difficult to read or annoy the user.

Micro animations also play a role in the design and user experience. These small animations can appear on certain user actions, such as pressing a button, hovering over an element, or loading a page. They add interactivity to the website, which can increase user engagement and keep them on the page longer.

I found a marketing company called PoshGecko which develops concepts, written scripts, directed, animated and produced videos for their clients. They have collection of animation, 3D, and film projects for the most recognizable companies like NHS, HSBC, IKEA, M&S, NATIONAL GRID etc. Their website is accessible, easy to navigate, modern, very interactive with nice minimalistic colour palette and font pairing.

The video bellow is for Clarks CICVAERSE multimedia campaign. To anchor the transition from the real world to CICAVERSE, the 3D Motion designers utilized a pixelated effect that played a significant role in the multimedia campaign. This effect symbolized the leap into CICAVERSE, capturing viewers’ attention and inspiring engagement. Throughout this transition, it was crucial to showcase the shoe, keeping the focus on the CICA sneakers and drawing the viewer’s eye to their 3D animated representation.

In order to optimize the website for a better user experience, it is important to pay attention to several key aspects. Firstly, the website must be responsive and adapt to the different devices from which users access information – desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones.

Second, page loading should be fast and efficient. Users have limited patience, so it is important to optimize the size and quality of images and use appropriate compression methods to reduce loading times.

Third, navigation should be intuitive and easy to understand. Users should be able to find the information they are looking for quickly and effortlessly. Using logically ordered menus and clear categories can help with this.

Finally, it is important to pay attention to the content. Quality and relevant content attracts users and keeps them on the page. Focusing on useful content offers an excellent opportunity to improve user experience and increase website trust.

In conclusion, web design experiences constant changes and developments, striving to provide the best user experience. Minimalism, bold colour palettes, micro-animations, and other trends are just some of the tool’s designers use to create websites and apps that are functional, easy to use, and visually appealing to users. In my opinion, these very elements would be quite a good and intriguing way to reach the audience to promote cultural events. Also, optimizing your website for a better user experience is a key factor in successfully attracting and retaining users.

Analysis of websites of previous Freedom Festivals, emphasizing their design choices and user experience.

Every year, Kingston upon Hull comes alive with the sounds of music and the energy of performance arts during the Freedom Festival. This event is a testament to the enduring legacy of William Wilberforce, a local hero who fought tirelessly for the abolition of the slave trade. The festival’s inception in 2007 marked the 200th anniversary of Wilberforce’s historic law, which played a pivotal role in ending the slave trade in the British Empire.

The beginning of the festival is the summer of 2008, with three stages, the largest of which is in Queen’s Gardens with several smaller ones in two other squares Victoria and Trinity Square (now known as “The Marketplace”).

In 2013 the festival was handed over to the Freedom Festival Arts Trust, a charity whose main focus is to engage and educate audiences in the arts.

At Freedom, they’ve got it all when it comes to entertainment! The diverse line-up attracts a wide range of people who love music, dance, art, street theatre, and all sorts of European entertainment. Over the years, the festival hosted incredible acts like Pixie Lott, JLS, The Saturdays, Martha Reeves, The Vandellas and The 1975. But it’s not just about big names – they also support local bands and artists. So, whether you’re into chart-toppers or up-and-coming talent, Freedom has something for everyone.

Mood Board Freedom Fest 2021
Mood Board Freedom Fest 2022

Freedom Festival 2023

Freedom Festival Mood Board

As every year the Freedom Festival Arts Trust getting bigger this year’s lineup included artists from around the world such as Résiste (France), Tripotes La Compagnie (Belgium), and Zum-Zum Theatre (Catalonia). There also many of the local talents and young voices to catch, as well as The Herd Theatre, which is returning with Fast Food Megaverse, and they are fan favourite. The staff have made sure that all the wonderful experiences are accessible to all.

Festival has a friendly team of staff and volunteers who will be on hand to offer any assistance. Also, the What to Expect guide is very useful for people with neurological conditions and people with access needs, giving them clear and concise information about each show. For another year they have been working with Sight Support, who have provided them with an audio brochure for people with sight problems.

All Freedom Festival sites are:

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Assistance dog friendly
  • Where applicable, have viewing areas with seating
  • Include information about options of travelling to site, blue badge parking etc.

Access to the exhibitions is made easy and convenient for everyone. Many of the shows are visual and have no speech, but there are BSL interpreters who will help if there is speech. Touch tours are available for the visually impaired audience, plus there is an audio tour of the most visual shows. In the brochure and on the website the are ‘what to expect’ quick reference icons, access icons which show has different access provision according to needs and there is a point on the site to provide the necessary information on the day of the events. Organizers have even thought of a place where you can relax if you get tired of the big crowds.

Let’s also talk about the user experience when visiting the festival website. I find the website and the app is accessible and responsive. User Interface is structured in a way that is easy to follow, predictable to navigate, and contains language that is understandable to all users. No slang words, confusing messages or messy navigation structure that leaves too many obstacles between users and the information they are looking for. I would leave the four categories on their website which are What’s On, Support Us, About Us and Contact Us to make the navigation ultra simple and easy, and the rest of these categories will be displayed as a drop down menu. When you hover over a particular menu, the submenu automatically appears, changing its colour from black to white, which I find engaging and shows you where exactly are you on the page. The same thing happens with the icons for social networks, they turn purple in colour. Also, engaging, and cool as a user, I find that when you click on one of the shows and hover over the buy ticket button, a shadow drops behind it (as with most buttons).

Every page loads quickly, which is important if we don’t want the users to turn off. The visual factors are these that impact the overall user experience. Fonts which are chosen are easy to read with high level of contrast with the background and size large enough for visually impaired or elderly users. The logo is in the top left corner of the screen and is in the ideal place on the eye movement pattern. Layout colours are consistent and aesthetically appealing in order to convey branding and hierarchy of information too. All these components properly represent the brand and builds credibility and trust in the user and make user want to come back again.

However I would like to see more unique, eye-catching artwork that instantly captures the vibe of the festival and sets it apart from others. It would be great to have a video or animation playing on the homepage, creating a dynamic and engaging experience. The line-up page should be bold and colourful, with a quirky typeface that adds a sense of fun and excitement.

Home Page of Freedom Festival
Line-Up Page
Mobile Version Of Freedom Festival App

Marketing approaches taken by cultural festivals across a multi-channel experience

What is multichannel marketing?

Multichannel marketing (MCM) is a strategy that combines various channels, such as social media, blogs, email, TV, mobile, and streaming services, to reach customers wherever they are. This approach aims to engage with customers through multiple touchpoints, ensuring a wider reach and increased brand visibility.

MCM can be particularly effective when targeting large audiences and facilitating tailored one-on-one interactions. Marketing automation plays a crucial role in powering sophisticated MCM efforts. By leveraging customer data, marketing automation enables businesses to generate personalized messaging and deliver it at the right time and through the most relevant channels.

For instance, when a customer browses an e-commerce store, this action can trigger targeted ads on social media platforms or prompt the delivery of an email with a personalized coupon. This level of granularity and complexity in MCM allows businesses to optimize their marketing efforts and increase the chances of converting leads into customers.

‍Benefits of a multichannel campaign

A multichannel campaign offers several benefits. Firstly, it allows businesses to reach a wider audience by utilizing multiple communication channels such as email, social media, and direct mail. This increases the chances of capturing the attention of potential customers and driving more traffic to their website or physical store. Secondly, a multichannel campaign provides a consistent brand experience across different platforms, reinforcing brand recognition and trust. Additionally, it allows businesses to gather valuable data and insights from various channels, enabling them to optimize their marketing strategies and improve customer targeting. Lastly, a multichannel campaign provides flexibility and adaptability, as businesses can adjust their messaging and tactics based on the performance of each channel. Overall, a multichannel campaign is an effective approach to maximize reach, enhance brand consistency, gather insights, and adapt to changing market dynamics.

Marketing approaches taken by cultural festivals

Cultural festivals employ various marketing approaches to attract audiences and promote their events. Firstly, social media platforms have become powerful tools for festival organizers to engage with potential attendees. By creating engaging content, such as event highlights and behind-the-scenes footage, festivals can generate buzz and increase their online presence. Additionally, partnerships with local businesses and organizations allow festivals to tap into existing customer bases and reach new audiences. From cross-promotions to co-hosting events, these collaborations help festivals expand their reach and attract diverse attendees. Lastly, traditional marketing tactics, such as print advertisements and radio spots, remain effective in reaching broader audiences who may not be active on social media. By utilizing a combination of these marketing approaches, cultural festivals can successfully promote their events and attract a wide range of attendees.

In 2018, BMW created an experimental marketing campaign that began with the creation of customized liveries of the i3 and i8 cars, designed by American designer John Gourley. BMW collaborated with major influencers using the hashtag #roadtocoachella to document their journey and create engaging content for their social media audience. The company increased the visibility of its new line of hybrid cars by creating a thrilling drive on specially designed hill tracks at the festival.

BMWi Road to Coachella

Coachella Festival

Coachella, or the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, is an annual music and cultural festival. It is currently one of the largest and highest-grossing music festivals in the United States. Billboard has consistently recognized it as one of the top music festivals, giving it a high level of global recognition. Held in Indio, California every April, the festival transforms the city into a bustling and vibrant hub as tens of thousands of people flock to attend over two consecutive weekends. Not only does Coachella attract a massive crowd, but it also draws in a significant number of A-list celebrities from the entertainment industry. Over the years, the festival has seen iconic performances from Lady Gaga in 2017, Beyoncé in 2018, and Ariana Grande in 2019, solidifying its reputation as a platform for superstar performers.

Image by Coachella/Beth Saravo


Coachella’s comprehensive marketing strategy is the key to its success. It goes beyond promoting the artist line-up and includes securing big brand sponsorships, influencer marketing, and utilizing social media to generate buzz. The festival organizers also focus on creating a unique and immersive experience for attendees, featuring art installations, interactive activities, and other features to supplement the music. These elements make Coachella a highly sought-after event that attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Social media marketing is essential for the success of festivals like Coachella, particularly through influencer marketing. Influencers, with their substantial social media following on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, possess the ability to reach a wide audience through a single post or video. By collaborating with influencers, festivals can tap into this audience and generate excitement surrounding the event. Influencers often specialize in specific interests, such as music, fashion, or travel, which aligns seamlessly with the theme of festivals like Coachella. Additionally, influencers provide a personal and relatable perspective on the festival experience, which tends to be more engaging for their followers compared to traditional advertising.

Social media platforms provide a means for festivals to engage with their audience in real-time. Through these platforms, festivals can share updates, announcements, and behind-the-scenes content, generating excitement and anticipation. Furthermore, social media allows for live streaming and sharing of highlights, attracting audiences who are unable to attend in person.

Coachella's Twitter Page

One of the most recognizable brands in the world, Absolut Vodka has been part of the Coachella experience for years, and as the official vodka of the festival, they get access to create unique experiences like custom pop-ups and live music performances.
One of their most memorable Coachella campaigns is the “Absolut Ultimate VIP Coachella Experience” contest, where fans can win a trip to the festival and VIP access, luxury accommodations, and an abundance of Absolut cocktails.

Absolut "The Ultimate VIP Coachella Experience" ‍

On December 1, 2021, Facebook rebranded itself as Meta, sparking widespread interest in the business world and fuelling public conversations about the metaverse. Capitalizing on this trend, Ray-Ban partnered with Meta to release a limited edition smart glasses collection called Ray-Ban Stories. To promote Ray-Ban Stories and create an immersive experience, Ray-Ban collaborated with renowned design studio VTProDesign to develop the Coachella Sensorium Experience. This exclusive space draws inspiration from the metaverse and is meticulously designed and crafted to provide customers with an exceptional sensory experience.

Ray-Ban partnered with Meta to launch a new limited edition smart glasses series - Ray-Ban Stories
#RayBanStories, the hashtag created specifically for the product
Ray-Ban's official Instagram account posted a photo of Angus Cloud using the product

On April 17, 2022, Ray-Ban’s official Instagram account featured a photo of Angus Cloud using their product. The caption included tags of Angus Cloud, #Coachella, and #RayBanStories, resulting in significant views and attention. The next day, on April 18, Angus Cloud posted a photo on his own Instagram account wearing Ray-Ban Stories series products. He tagged Ray-Ban in the caption, along with the #RayBanStories hashtag. Due to his strong fan appeal, the post received nearly 400,000 likes.

Both of the above posts are Shopping Posts, allowing users to see product tags and brand names, and make direct purchases. This seamless transition and short purchase process, combined with Angus Cloud’s high traffic, greatly benefit brand promotion and performance growth. RayBan effectively promoted its product line, RayBanStories, during the Coachella music festival using diverse influencers and brand promotion strategies.

The Glastonbury Festival

The Glastonbury festival, held at Worthy Farm in Somerset, is the largest greenfield festival globally. Founded by Michael Eavis, a former dairy farmer, the festival originated from his inspiration by the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. In September 1970, Eavis decided to create his own event.

The iconic Pyramid stage, a central feature of the festival, was conceived by Bill Harkin and John Michell. They dowsed the area to locate the ley lines, harnessing the Earth’s energies optimally. Harkin then began recreating the Great Pyramid of Giza to serve as the festival’s central stage and energy centre. This spiritual element connected with the 1960s hippie movement, reflecting countercultural ideas such as the anti-war movement, egalitarian society, anti-capitalism, and alternative spirituality.

The Glastonbury Festival has maintained its countercultural ethos by supporting the CND and promoting their logo on the pyramid stage. They have also supported other causes such as the green peace movement, Oxfam, and WaterAid. The festival aims to encourage and stimulate youth culture from around the world in various forms of art and design, including music, theatre, cinema, poetry, and visual arts. It is often regarded as the British version of the legendary US Woodstock festival.

Glastonbury Festival Logo
Secretive announcement poster discreetly placed in an Oxfam shop window in Streatham
Partnership with Brothers Cider Brand to win free tickets for the festival
Collage made by me with images from Glastonbury Advertising using Glastonbury Own Newspaper, billboard, Tony's Chocolonely partnership etc.
Collage made by me using the range of merchandise all emblazoned with the festival's iconic logo
Glastonbury Website Interface


Glastonbury has become synonymous with its unique advertising strategies. The festival organizers have mastered the art of capturing the attention of music lovers from all over the globe. From eye-catching billboards to captivating social media campaigns, Glastonbury’s advertising efforts are nothing short of extraordinary.

One of the festival’s most notable advertising tactics is its use of billboards. These larger-than-life advertisements can be seen in major cities, enticing passers-by with vibrant images of previous performances and the promise of unforgettable experiences. The strategic placement of these billboards ensures maximum visibility and creates a buzz around the festival, generating excitement among potential attendees.

Glastonbury utilizes experiential marketing to generate excitement and intrigue. An example of this is their secretive announcement of the headline act for 2019, where a Glastonbury poster was discreetly placed in an Oxfam shop window in Streatham. This clever and covert PR stunt garnered significant interest from both the public and newspapers. The impact of the stunt was further amplified through the Glastonbury fan page ‘GlastoWatch’ and media coverage. Additionally, Glastonbury incorporates secrecy and mystique into their events, such as hosting secret forest concerts and a hidden piano bar. These tactics foster a sense of exclusivity, which often enhances the desired experience. By employing these strategies, the Glastonbury brand becomes a hub of emotional energy, forging stronger connections with potential consumers through captivating storytelling and integrating aspects of communication, quality, tradition, and identity.

In addition to traditional advertising methods, Glastonbury has also embraced the power of social media. With millions of followers across platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the festival uses its online presence to engage with fans and build anticipation. From teaser videos to artist announcements, Glastonbury’s social media campaigns are meticulously crafted to keep the festival in the spotlight all year long. Their social networks are also used to announce how you can win free tickets to the event, often using campaigns with the various brands they partner with.

Glastonbury merchandise is a popular aspect of the famous music festival. Fans look forward to the opportunity to purchase items that commemorate their experience. The range of merchandise includes t-shirts, hoodies, hats, puzzles, blankets, posters, etc. all emblazoned with the festival’s iconic logo. These items serve as a tangible reminder of the unforgettable memories made during the event. Whether it’s a simple t-shirt or a limited-edition collector’s item, Glastonbury merchandise allows festival-goers to proudly display their festival love long after the music has stopped.

In conclusion, Glastonbury’s advertising efforts are a testament to the festival’s commitment to creating a truly immersive experience for its attendees. Through eye-catching billboards and captivating social media campaigns, various merchandise Glastonbury has established itself as a global phenomenon, attracting music lovers from all walks of life.

Glastonbury Mobile App Interface

A refreshed approach that I would take for Freedom Festival 2024

Freedom Festival 2024 will see a refreshed approach that aims to enhance the overall experience for attendees. Firstly, the festival will feature a diverse line-up of artists from various genres to cater to different musical preferences. This will ensure that there is something for everyone and create a more inclusive atmosphere. Additionally, there will be an increased focus on interactive activities and workshops to engage festival-goers and provide them with unique experiences. Lastly, the festival grounds will be redesigned to improve navigation and create more comfortable spaces for relaxation. These changes will contribute to an unforgettable and enjoyable experience for all attendees at Freedom Festival 2024.

For Freedom Festival 2024, I propose a refreshed approach that focuses on enhancing the attendee experience. This can be achieved through a combination of strategic programming, interactive installations, and community engagement initiatives. By curating a diverse line-up of artists and performers, we can cater to a wide range of interests and ensure there is something for everyone. 

Additionally, incorporating interactive installations throughout the festival grounds will create immersive and memorable experiences for attendees. These installations can include art installations, interactive games, and augmented reality experiences. Furthermore, implementing community engagement initiatives such as workshops, panel discussions, and volunteer opportunities will foster a sense of inclusivity and encourage active participation from attendees. By adopting this refreshed approach, Freedom Festival 2024 will not only entertain but also inspire and empower attendees to embrace freedom in all its forms.

The refreshed logo for Freedom Festival 2024 will be modern and dynamic representation of the event. The design will features geometrical shapes and vibrant colours that symbolize freedom and celebration. Overall, the new logo captures the essence of Freedom Festival 2024 and will undoubtedly resonate with attendees and create a memorable visual identity for the event.

Shapes which I intend to use for the refreshed logo
Low fidelity brand frame which I did in Illustrator.

I have four examples of low-fidelity wireframes here, and I could potentially use one of them for my final project.

I’ll go for the last one because I’ve made it much more organized than the others, with a video embedded, small animation, or photo slider for the Homepage. 

Reference list:

[1] Smeets, E & Bain, I (2022) Here’s how digitalization is helping to transform the creative industries. Available online: Digitalization: How creative industries are being transformed | World Economic Forum ([Accessed: 17.10.2023]

[2] Wikipedia Contributors (2023). Freedom Festival Hull. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: Freedom Festival, Hull – Wikipedia [Accessed 18.10.2023].

[3] The Upwork Team (2021) What Is Multichannel Marketing? (Strategy and Examples). Available online: What Is Multichannel Marketing? (Strategy & Examples) | Upwork[Accessed 21.10.2023].

[4] Brand Vison (2023) The Success of Coachella 2023: A Look at Marketing Strategies. Available online: Coachella 2023’s Success: A Look at Marketing Strategies | Brand Vision ([Accessed 02.11.2023].

[5] Mita Group (2019) Coachella Festival Top 5 Campaign. Available online: Coachella, Coachella Festival Top 5 Campaign ( [Accessed 02.11.2023].

[6] Li, Young (2023) The Ultimate Coachella 2023 Marketing Guide. Available online: The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Coachella 2023 ( [Accessed 02.11.2023].