Face to face – visual identity of the 57th Krakow Film Festival


In 2011, Krakow Film Festival started to co-operate with the designer duo, Kuba Sowiński and Jakub de Barbaro, who decided to replace the annual art house poster of the Festival with an innovative concept, which, in spite of significant visual modifications, has been consistently implemented until now.  


The reason behind creating the visual identity of the 57th Krakow Film Festival was this time the idea of organising an exhibition of amateur portraits of the people from the world of cinema. The drawings, made by the friends of Krakow Film Foundation for the needs of the planned exhibition, inspired Sowiński and De Barbaro to create this year’s graphic design of the Festival.


The films, which have been enjoying the particular attention of the selectors of the Festival for years, are the ones in which a human being and his often intimate and original story are in the foreground. This year’s visual identity of the Festival, just like documentary films, shows a person with all their imperfections and shortcomings. The portraits used in the project are in direct contradiction to the pervasive obsession about beauty and the ideal of the faces of the pop culture icons, processed by specialised graphics editing software. From the drawings, there also emerge the images of their authors themselves, who, by expressing sincere, real emotions towards their film idols, at the same time expose their own weaknesses and ineptitude.


Some of the portraits seem ugly, but, as Jakub de Barbaro claims, “This is their strength. Because they are ugly, we give a sign that we are not afraid of the truth.” The cartoon style of the graphic design is also a formal reference to this year’s 70th anniversary of Polish animated film.


In the previous years, the duo of the designers systematically based their designs of the Festival posters on the contents of the festival films. They created bold compositions, using non-obvious film frames, accurately selected film quotes, provocative dialogues or the film titles themselves, written in their original languages, often from the exotic countries where these films were produced. The individual elements of the identity often formed an extremely cohesive whole with the place where they were exposed and generated a new, independent, sometimes funny and sometimes controversial, context.


It is the same this year. The extensive gallery of portraits, collected in order to create an exhibition accompanying the Festival, takes on new meanings thanks to exceptionally well thought-out arrangements on the printed materials, advertisements in the media, festival gadgets and large-format advertising in the urban space.  


The vernissage of the portrait exhibition “Face to face” is held on the opening day of the 57th Krakow Film Festival, on the 28th of May, 2017 at  4 p.m. in Małopolski Ogród Sztuki.


In addition, in the Festival Centre a special stand will be prepared, which will enable the guests and participants of the Festival to create their own portraits of their film idols during the festival.  

Jakub de Barbaro

Born in 1977 in Krakow, designer specialising in graphic design for the publishing industry and in visual identity. The co-founder of the artist co-operative Goldex Poldex and Szalona Galeria. A member of STGU (Association of Polish Graphic Designers). A former lecturer at Raffles Design Institute in Shanghai. He co-operated with, among others, Sternberg Press (Berlin), the Elizabeth Foundation (New York City) and Éditions Dilecta (Paris).


Kuba Sowiński

Born in in 1973 in Krakow, applied arts designer, the co-creator of the nationwide design quarterly “2+3D.” Together with Wojciech Kubiena, he runs the design studio Biuro Szeryfy and works at the Faculty of Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. A member of STGU (Association of Polish Graphic Designers). He specialises in graphic design for the publishing industry and co-operates mainly with cultural institutions and publishing houses.

The posters of Krakow Film Festival by Jakub de Barbaro and Kuba Sowiński won the audience award in the film festival graphic design competition at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival.


57th Krakow Film Festival is held from May 28 to June 4, 2017.


The archive of Krakow Film Festival’s posters: http://www.krakowfilmfestival.pl/archiwum/plakaty-2016/