Graphic Design at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed

For the second of my blog posts about this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, I am going to turn my attention to the graphic design that was around, which will mainly be programmes and leaflets. You can read about the first part, where I talk about my day at the Festival here.

However, on the McLaren stand, set up to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, they had a stunning piece of type in the environment on their stand, focusing on a quote from their founder, Bruce McLaren. Being large and white it really reflected the sunlight and stood out, and I found the quote rather inspirational. It reminds everyone inside and outside of the company that while reaching their 50th anniversary is a large achievement in itself, everyone should not forget the specific achievements McLaren has made in motorsport, road cars and in constructing their state of the art facilities at Woking.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive Facebook page

It is evident when you order tickets for Goodwood and they arrive, that the level of detail is very impressive, both in what information the leaflet contains, but also the design. Goodwood from it’s very early days found a consistent monochromatic aesthetic that I would imagine is inspired by one of the most famous parts of motor racing: the chequered flag. Even those without any interest in motor sport would most likely understand this. The monochromatic aesthetic promotes a sense of elegance, class and luxury which is perfectly befits the grounds of Goodwood House that the Festival of Speed is set in, as well as the type of cars and bikes on show.


Little details make the difference, such as the spot varnished “41.6 seconds to the top” – something which many people know about, but for those who don’t, it creates the intrigue as to the significance of this number, which turns out to be the record time taken for a car to ascend the famous hill-climb event.

Sidetracking slightly, the record was set by Nick Heidfeld in 1999, driving a 1998 McLaren MP4-13. 41.6 seconds equates to an average of 100.385mph! Since that day, F1 cars were no longer timed up the hill, as they were deemed too fast to be safe. I’ve embedded a YouTube video below from the Goodwood channel so you can see why this decision came about. Amazing footage!


Getting back on track with the design side of things, the inside of the mini booklet is also monochromatic, with great imagery to sell the event, combined with quotes to get across the nature of the event.


There’s also lots of useful information, such as a map and a FAQ section, as well as establishing a few points worthy of noting to ensure the day is enjoyed by all.


Moving onto the event, Goodwood always produces a great programme that collates the main theme of the Festival and the unique aspects on display for that year. This year, I was very surprised to pick up the programme and see that there was no type or imagery on it at all… just a silver cover that reflects the light forming various rainbow effects, which is very bright and bold. I presume this is to celebrate their 20th anniversary, and while I applaud their originality, I am still undecided as to whether it needs something extra, like a small discreet logo and/or piece of typography.


Inside the programme, it immediately starts by looking through the best aspects of Goodwood over the history of the Festival of Speed, with notable moments such as the record run up the hill and the central sculpture placed outside Goodwood House.

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Adverts also feature within the programme, and they are of a higher calibre than you normally expect to see within a car magazine and from manufacturers that don’t normally place adverts into magazines such as McLaren. This advert makes good use of the type in the environment concept I showed earlier, with a strong three-dimensional effect, whereas the layout makes good use of negative space and a ordered hierarchy of information.

IMG_4373 I loved seeing the ‘Welcome’ page written by the Earl of March, the owner of Goodwood House, the man who has made this entire event possible, with the image showing how the event looked 20 years ago, (presumably on a promotional day) it’s come a long way since then! Oh, and check out the stylish jumper 😉 worn by the Earl of March as well!

IMG_4375 Many editorial articles also feature within the programme that make for a fascinating read. The design is impressive as ever, with very bold display typography, with loose kerning helping to stand out amongst the images. Something I noticed when comparing to last year’s programme is how this year, the articles take on a more uniform layout and aesthetic, whereas last year, some articles very clearly had their own style, such as the Lotus article being in black and gold to remember the famous era of JPS sponsorship.

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When visitors purchase the main programme, you also get an Events programme, which details all the different classes of car on show, when they will be running up the hillclimb as well as other facts and figures. It’s a great memento of the day as well as a useful resource containing the facts, it really helped me to learn something about many of the classic cars and bikes, which I’m not really that familiar with.


Every year the Events programme features a stunning painting on the front, which originates from the festival’s poster that year. These are all created by renowned motorsport artist Peter Hearsey. I love the way that the sense of motion is apparent in the painting, as well as the way it is contrasted with some of the finer, crisper details for Goodwood House and the car/s in them.

IMG_4365 Inside the pages are all laid out very clearly with small images and passages of text, although I have to say, they would appreciate from being slightly larger and perhaps a touch more informative. There are also some great images of certain cars in action from the archives which show to the audience their original purpose.

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With The Telegraph sponsoring in part the Festival of Speed, it is no surprise they have a stand just inside the ticket gate, where for just a couple of pounds, you could pick up a canvas bag with a specific design on it, the day’s newspaper, a DVD looking back at the first FoS in 1993, a Porsche 911 poster and the obligatory radio that allows visitors to tune-in if they so wish. I think this is really impressive, and seemed very popular on the day.

IMG_4406 I love the vibrancy of the colours used for the illustration on the canvas bag, I noticed throughout the day people carrying these around and the car would immediately ‘pop’ out, which no doubt was the desired effect. There was also a Porsche canvas bag available, but being a McLaren fan, it didn’t take long to decide which one I wanted! 😀

IMG_4407 IMG_4411 IMG_4399 IMG_4401-copy I couldn’t resist playing around with the above photo of the Porsche poster I took in Photoshop to make it look more retro, and for a couple of minutes work, I was really impressed with the end result, which you can see below. To achieve this from the image above, I added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, selected Colorize, and tinted it a retro yellow/orange from the Hue Picker, before converting the image to a Smart Object, adding a Noise Filter, set to about 10% for some minor distressing for an aged look, and because I felt like it, I added some white areas around the lights using the Brush Tool to make them appear like they were on.


I also picked up a leaflet about the Bloodhound SSC project which was an informative read and designed reasonably well. They did have a set of information graphics there at the stand, but I can’t say I was impressed with them at all unfortunately.

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So overall, that was a quick look at the graphic design associated with Goodwood FoS, and in general, I was extremely impressed in what I saw.