Celebrating Edinburgh International Festival’s 70th Anniversary.

How we created an interactive experience to thrill, move, excite and entertain global audiences.

Edinburgh International Festival Logo


User research, digital and campaign strategy, user interface design and front-end development.

Edinburgh International Festival Castle

A year of celebration.

The Edinburgh International Festival is an unparalleled celebration of the performing arts, turning Scotland’s capital into a melting pot of creativity, innovation and discovery. 

In 2017, the Festival celebrates its 70th anniversary. To mark the event, we wanted to take their story so far to a global stage in an interactive and dynamic way, reflecting the quality and energy of the event’s programming. With a wealth of content available to us, we needed to develop a way of bringing this into a creative concept that could be translated into a digital experience; an experience that would engage audiences before, during and after the Festival itself.

Edinburgh International Festival Black and White

Telling a story of 70 years.

The Edinburgh International Festival has a wealth of undiscovered content spanning film, press and audio archives. We wanted to use this content as a platform from which a narrative and storytelling website could be created. 

The resulting site needed to be capable of presenting a variety of media formats and design features. It had to compel artists and audiences to participate in the celebration, capturing the buzz of the city itself in the lead up to August; all of this coming together to add an extra layer of excitement and celebration to this year’s event.

Unique perspectives.

Bringing together the past, present and future allowed us to create a story and perspective as unique as the Festival itself.

We brought together a vast array of content, from tiny snippets of information recorded only as oral histories to documentary film footage and audio recordings from as far back as 1947, into a cohesive whole but we wanted the site to be more than simply a linear timeline of events; it needed to engage, excite and compel.

“We knew that we wanted to include a digital element to our 70th Anniversary celebrations, and wanted to produce something that was so much more than just a history timeline or an online archive. Something totally different, which would tell our massive story in an easy-to-digest way. LEWIS presented us with Unique Perspectives, which captured exactly what we wanted to achieve.”

Digital Manager 
Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh International Festival Wireframes
Edinburgh International Festival Icon Sketches
Edinburgh International Festival Design Critique

A story with depth.

We weaved together stories about performers, audiences, great art and the spirit of the event itself, bringing each unique moment into a dynamic, interactive “transmedia” experience. We developed a concept to breathe life and energy into each story, reinvigorating moments of discovery and delight.

To enrich the user experience we implemented overlapping images, video, audio content and a navigation system that comes to life as the user scrolls to explore. The effect reinforces the idea of unique perspectives coming together over the years and allowed us to develop a stylised approach that could be applied across media types.

Edinburgh International Festival Layers build
Edinburgh International Festival Coding

The result is beautiful, fascinating, and really easy to use. The animation makes our content sing and the story is presented in a really accessible way. This story will live on way beyond our 70th as the perfect introduction to the International Festival and a great example of digital storytelling. We work with artists who are at the top of their respective fields, so any of our digital work needs to reflect that. 70years.eif.co.uk certainly does that.”

Digital Manager 
Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh International Festival iPad shot 1

Part of the programme.

Following its launch, the website was featured in several key industry publications and was supported by promotion across social media. This was accompanied by calls for users to engage with the site by sharing their own unique perspectives and memories.

The site will remain live beyond this year’s International Festival as a historical documentary of its past and future stories. The site is a unique digital platform which has been created to tell the stories, and reflect the brand of, the Edinburgh International Festival. Its unique, creatively-led approach has already engaged global audiences and we’re certain will continue to do so.