The IndieCade festival is an annual festival held in the Los Angeles area dedicated to independent games. In 2015, the festival took place in Culver City and spanned multiple locations throughout the city – the IndieCade Village, Fire Station, Ivy Substation, and City Hall. There were several topics, each specific to one of the four locations. Most of the topics are located at IndieCade Village. The events vary from talks to lessons to game demos, some of which are ongoing throughout the day. Most of the events occur between 9a.m. and 6p.m., with the exception of the Night Games which require a wristband.
However, the original brochure struggles to convey even this general information. Here’s what went wrong.
Issues with the original
Lack of hierarchy
There are several headers in different font-sizes, and small caps are used erratically. Why is “IndieCade Village” floating in a white box while other locations aren’t? Why is City Hall under Game U when locations are otherwise positioned above topic “threads”? These inconsistencies make it difficult to discern the strucsture of the festival and the locations of the events.
Poor colour encoding
One might assume that items in the same colour are related, but that’s only somewhat accurate. Orange items are in IndieCade Village, but so are yellow, green, and purple items. Blue items are both in Ivy Substation and City Hall. The colours don’t appear to correlate to location, topic, or anything discernable. This arbitrary use of colour just worsens the confusion surrounding the lack of hierarchy.
The aforementioned issues can make it difficult to determine what the locations even are, let alone where a specific topic is located. There also isn’t much dedicated space for description, which can leave out important information, such as what the lists under Digital Selects and Gaming for Everyone refer to.
Resolving the issues
Orange headers and blue outlines associate and differentiate content to create the overall structure of the document. Colour-coded subheaders establish location, and headers within coloured blocks establish topic threads. Time is consistently on the left, as well as annotated in the schedule blocks.
Actual colour coding
The newly introduced map both clearly establishes the locations and serves as a key for the new colour-coding. Clearly connecting colour to location eases the ability to scan and cross-reference information. However, colour is just an additional encoding – everything is still clearly labeled to prevent constant key referencing and to consider those that may be colourblind.
Making information easier to read and understand
Shifting the schedule from horizontal to vertical reduces line length, making the schedule information more legible. The choice of a narrower font allows for more information to fit in the schedule boxes instead of changing font sizes constantly, which can cause eye strain. The use of Optima as a body font also allows for high legibility at low sizes, giving space for more information and descriptions, as well as room to move the evening events to the main spread and add the map.
While the redesign loses some of the visual character of the original, perhaps even becoming quite generic, it provides a starting point with a clear information hierarchy to then adapt and rebrand.