Behind the Work in association withThe Immortal Awards

Resilience, Expression, and Inspiration: How Luminato Punctuated Toronto’s Creative Vibrancy in 2022

Advertising Agency
Toronto, Canada
The Local Collective founder Matt Litzinger tells LBB’s Adam Bennett how this year’s Luminato festival lit up one of the world’s most creatively prolific cities

For the past fifteen years and counting, the Luminato Festival has shone a light on the ever-beating creative heart of Toronto. As a festival designed to promote and celebrate a unique locally-rooted and globally-connected kind of creative expression. Today, the event has grown to include more than 3,600 performers and 15,000 artists from across 40 countries. 

And it’s perhaps that connection to global creativity through a local lens which made teaming up with The Local Collective, a Toronto-based agency, such a no-brainer. To promote this year’s festival, the team at TLC punctuated the city’s skyline with a neon array of, well, punctuation. 

The idea behind the campaign, as LBB heard at the time, was to show how art - through its ability to provoke any range of multiple responses - can always be relied upon to spark conversation. 

The result was a series of imagery which turned heads across the capital of Ontario, inviting onlookers to engage in precisely those kinds of creative conversations the festival aims to facilitate. To go behind the scenes of the campaign and discover how it all came together, LBB’s Adam Bennett sat down with TLC’s founder Matt Litzinger. 

LBB> Matt, to start things off with a simple question - what is art? 

Matt> Wow…that’s an easy question…not! Art is a bunch of things, defying any single, true definition. In reality, that was a part of the great challenge we were faced with in attempting to brand the festival. Finding something common that was consistent across all the various installations, experiences, visual and sensory work was a great task!

LBB> The pandemic had a brutal effect on the arts scenes worldwide, but especially on a local level. What’s been your impression of how Toronto’s creative culture has responded, and to what extent was this event part of that response? 

Matt> Toronto is a very resilient city. It’s always had a positive outlook on things. It’s generally cleaner, safer, and more compassionate than most cities globally of comparable size and industry. That positivity has always echoed through its creative culture, as well. There was, and still is, a tremendous sense of unity amongst the community. So, the response has been strong.

LBB> What were your initial goals heading into this campaign? And how closely did they align with the finished work? 

Matt> The initial goal was to treat this festival with the reverence and creativity it deserves. I’m a lifelong Torontonian, so I’ve grown-up watching and attending the many iterations of Luminato over the years. It has always played a role in supporting and exposing intriguing and powerful artistic expressions. Accordingly, we really wanted the work to stand out, but to also feel like it could be art itself. I think the finished work aligns with our initial hopes.

LBB> I understand that the campaign aimed to ‘re-establish the festival’s core identity'. How would you describe that identity, and how do these images reflect it?

Matt> Luminato has always been a bit of a ‘microphone drop’ from a festival standpoint. It has consistently curated amazing expressions and powerful, lasting artistic statements. At its core, it has always caused a reaction. It has sparked a conversation. It was that observation that filtered through the final campaign.

LBB> And can you tell us how you came to settle on punctuation as the visual medium for the message you were seeking to convey? 

Matt> Continuing on from the previous thought, we settled on punctuations as a way to convey the interpretive nature of the pieces and the experience as well as the debate that occurs around art. Our creative director and head of design took that and created the vibrant colour palette to echo the idea of illumination and chose an artful aesthetic towards the actual system.

LBB> What was the biggest challenge you faced in this campaign, and how did you overcome it? 

Matt> It can sometimes be difficult gaining alignment from your client partners, and especially when there is a broad cross section of stake holders. Fortunately, we didn’t have that issue, from the artistic director to the CMO to the CEO and everyone in between, we gained fast alignment on the approach and they went with our reco from a visual language standpoint. So, the only challenge was really creating all the various executions.

LBB> How did you enjoy the festival yourself? Any personal highlights? 

Matt> The festival was amazing! So many inspired moments and experiences. I would rather not single one out, as so much resonated with me.

LBB> We’ve been hearing lately how digital and remote events might be the future (particularly in the context of the Metaverse). What’s your take on that and, as The Local Collective, how important is it that creativity is sometimes rooted in a sense of community and physical place? 

Matt> Yeah, I dunno about that one. I’m not so sure the conversation should revolve around the replacement of things, so much as another option being created. I think the future will have some sort of ‘Ready Player One’ atmosphere to it. But the true utility of the Metaverse hasn’t been cracked or adopted yet. Once that happens, I’m sure some things will change. Some concerts will be virtual, some will be in-person. And so on. 

LBB> Finally, a theme running throughout this year’s festival has been inspiration. As a creative person, have you taken any inspiration from Luminato 2022? 

Matt> The world is full of wonderfully creative people with lots to say, and art gives us an amazing way to listen to them. I hope that we continue to recognise the magic of that language, and never stop listening.

Work from The Local Collective
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Luminato Festival Toronto
Luminato Festival Toronto