Mission Hill Arts Festival Identity, 2023.

Now in its third year, the Mission Hill Arts Festival and the visual identity developed to support it serve to expand the reach and caliber of this urban outdoor arts festival. 

Building upon identity work developed for the 2021 and 2022 festivals, Dan Vlahos Design was asked to create a bespoke visual branding toolkit for the 2023 summer festival. The 2023 festival presented weekly outdoor performances and exhibitions from June–August in “the Yard”—an outdoor pavilion adjacent to the Tobin Community Center. Presented under the 2023 theme of “exuberance,” the festival organizers wanted to explore notions of expression, vibrancy, and positive energy.

In support of the theme, for 2023, we proposed a purely typographic approach that expressively and abstractly communicates “waves” of exuberance. In this way, we were careful to avoid cliché imagery (think jumping people), and perhaps more importantly, we sought a solution that might allow the typography and language to positively add to the urban landscape. A limited-color palette (dark navy and yellow) akin to what might be seen in silkscreen—helps signify the festival as community-based. Although not as common today, stretched, skewed, morphed type akin to what is used here was a hallmark of 1980s “New Wave” typography. 

This annual festival presents avant-garde visual and performing artists from various cultures and in a wide range of styles. The 2023 festival concluded with the debut of PULSE, a new work by pianist and Composer Kevin Harris. PULSE is a chamber work combining improvised and fully notated music developed in collaboration with the Windsor Music ensemble. The project was made possible in part by a Live Arts Boston grant from The Boston Foundation. Harris and “the Windsorians” performed PULSE before a sold-out crowd of local, regional, and even national attendees.

The 2023 festival was generously supported by Arts Talks, the Boston Cultural Council, Celebrity Series of Boston, Northeastern University, Mission Hill Fenway Neighborhood Trust, and many others.


Design Director: Dan Vlahos
Designer: Marc Gonzalez
Client: Luisa Harris, Executive Director

Case Studies—

Arts Engagement for Healing and Transformation in Mission Hill, 2009–2023.


Merrimack Graphic Design Assistant Professor, Students, and Alumni Support Newly Launched Arts Festival in Boston, Merrimack College Campus News, May 2023.

Mission Hill Arts Festival returns June – August, The Bay State Banner, June 2023.

FILED IN: Brand Design