Concerts in the Park Sacramento 2018 Full Case Study
Concerts in the Park 2018 poster by Jason Malmberg for Decabet

Concerts in the park sacramento 2018 full case study

Sacramento’s Concerts in the Park is a summer concert series held annually from May through July at Cesar Chavez Plaza in the heart of downtown Sacramento. It’s really come into its own in the past few years, pulling in national touring headliners and providing a stage for local music scene mainstays and emerging breakout artists from the area as well. Acts as diverse as Franz Ferdinand, Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers, Blackalicious and many more have graced the stage and filled the park to capacity over the festival’s 12 week summer run and every year it gets bigger and better. In 2017 they revamped their entire brand system with a slick new single-line-weight vector icon-based look and set out to book their biggest year yet in 2018. So what did they need me for?

A Festival-Style Lineup Poster

They wanted my help in creating “a festival-style lineup poster”, something with an iconic look and that teased out the excitement of the event but made the event itself the primary attraction. While the (then still under wraps) lineup was stacked with the most formidable names CIP had booked to date, the focus still needed to rest squarely on the event itself. This meant making it about the event’s many natural amenities: the Northern California summer nights, the city skyline, the plaza’s gorgeous setting, the grass, the trees, all of these would frame the lineup rather than being led by it. We wanted you to want to come whether you’d heard of the act performing or not.

Adding Dimension and Dynamism and Squirrels of all Genres

As I mentioned above, CIP had recently rebranded to a very clean, very cool new brand system of vector iconography representing all the different facets of the CIP experience: the food, the drinks, the instruments, the nature, and of course they now had a mascot: Chip.

(Above) CIP’s new brand icon system and it’s mascot “Chip”

The moment I saw Chip I knew he was going to be my way “in” on this one. While he looked great in his flat 2d icon form, what I really wanted was to see him come alive and not just alive but off the page entirely, leaping out at you from the poster as he did high kicks with his Flying V. And that idea set off a chain reaction that sparked everything else. What if the brand system existed in the flat icon space but exploded into three dimensions on the poster?

I’d use an extreme perspective to make the proscenium of the park stage an epic tower of color, action and light, stretching past the skyline into the starry night sky with larger-than-life Chips representing different genres of music towering over an undulating festival crowd that I specifically designed to suggest the lush grass of the park floor. I also had a lot of fun adding fun details here and there: the rocker Chip has a tattoo of an acorn in a heart, the hip hop Chip (Chip Hop?) has a “CIP” knuckle ring and shutter shades, and in a running gag I have with posters for events taking place in Cesar Chavez park, one of the squirrels is drawn to resemble a DJ I know that is playing the event. There are several other visual Easter eggs planted throughout as well, from the CIP logo on the faux-Chuck Taylors on the hip hop Chip to the CIP leaf icon embossed into their souls.

Concerts in the Park 2018 poster by Jason Malmberg for Decabet

The 2018 Poster

Putting it all in motion

Armed with their most stacked lineup yet, the CIP people wanted to do something really special for the big lineup reveal party. What if instead of just doing the usual printed flyers and posters and doing the lineup reveal as a spoken announcement we found a way to bring the reveal to life individually for everyone at the announcement event that April? They asked if I could do a motion graphic to that end.

I didn’t want to overpromise as I was a near-complete novice with motion graphics at the time, but if all we were talking about was a logo fly in and the lineup names slowly fading in then sure that was something I could handle. But something happened as I worked on this modest version of the motion graphic. My brain started getting comfortable, making connections, and getting inspired: “well wait, if this and this do this then maybe I could use it to make this do ….that?”

Before I knew it, what started as a simple rudimentary motion graphic quickly became something much more elaborate. The characters would bob and leap along to “Wild Things” by CIP 2018 artist The Color Wild, the lights pulse and flash, the crowd sways, and the lineup reveals itself bottom-to-top, slowing down to build anticipation as we revealed the toppling headliners one by one. It wasn’t Toy Story but considering what I was expecting to be able to pull off it was a huge leap forward.

Augmented release

We had our art, we had our poster, we had our reveal video, and now we would use AR to deliver it on a personal scale. Sacramento’s Sol Collective was able to use HP’s AR app to map the video in virtual space to any flyer featuring the circular CIP logo which acted as a visual trigger to prompt the animation. You could move the flyer around in real space and the motion poster would fluidly and seamlessly follow it. It was amazing. And it was a huge hit at the reveal event. There were many audible “ooh”s and “aaah”s throughout Cesar Chavez park as the lineup revealed itself on everyone’s devices. Mission: accomplished. We had managed to create a unique kind of excitement for that year’s series.


I had a blast working on that year’s poster and have continued working with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership on the 2019 series (case study coming soon) and am currently working on 2020. With every year’s event building on and surpassing the last, it’s an adventure that I love and feel fortunate to be a part of each year.

Poster Specs

• 18” x 24” offset print

• Printed on archival-quality heavy cardstock





Dispatches of note, stout with formidable brio from a weary pen

Let’s Work Together

I’ve done work for everyone from “Weird Al” to Foo Fighters, Foals to Cut Copy, and bands and festivals ranging in scale from local to international. Contact me using the form below and I’ll be back to you (usually within 24 hours) to talk about what brilliant things we might conjure into being.

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