Rougarou Fest

Client

South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center

Date

2013–present

Work Type

Logo/Identity
Event Collateral
Signage

Opportunity in Folklore

Since its humble 2012 beginnings, Rougarou Fest has become a unique and much-anticipated annual event in downtown Houma, LA. The free, weekend-long festival happens on the last weekend before Halloween and centers around the spookier aspects of South Louisiana folklore and tradition – all within a fun, family-friendly context of course. Guests will find plenty of activities to enjoy: Live music, food and drinks, arts and crafts, carnival rides and games, costume contests, the Krewe Ga Rou Parade, and more.

In 2013, the event organizers met with us to developed the second year’s brand materials. The initial goal was to build new advertising and promotional materials with a still-developing brand. But there lied an opportunity to try something different and possibly elevate the event higher. We took the initiative in taking an entirely new approach to the brand, effectively rebranding the event. Coupled with new and refined event ideas by the organizers, the second year would see a vast increase in guests and recognition.

Since then, we have remained as the brand partner of the Rougarou Fest, watching the event continue to grow in capacity and activities garnering it local, regional, and even national recognition. The brand still continues strong; growing and building off of the core ideas envisioned in 2013 – family, fun, and a little spooky Louisiana tradition.

The Work

It was realized early on that the original 2012 brand elements would be an incredibly difficult task to translate across mediums without major overhauls. A new look for the brand, we felt, would be the best solution, but we knew that rebranding a newly established brand without prior discussion could be a risky decision if not perfectly executed. Normally, we’d never do this. But there was immense opportunity here.

We knew we would need to find the lighter side to this terrifying werewolf character. How should he act? How should he look? Who was he? We dove into the folklore surrounding the Rougarou trying to glean every aspect of them. The exploration would lead to many different avenues going beyond their Cajun origin stories. We found an entertaining connection that was possible to explore by looking at the more humorous side of the famous Voodoo loa, Baron Samedi. Of his many qualities and roles as a shepherd for the departed, he can be mischievous at times and enjoys a good joke. This would be the jumping off point in creating the character of the parade-leading, fun-loving trickster that would be the “Rougarou”.

The Rougarou/Loup-garou

“You better be good or the Rougarou’s gonna come get you!”

The most iconic south Louisiana folklore character, the Rougarou has existed in the minds of Louisiana natives for generations. And there is no counting how many different tales of the rougarou exist. Having the head of a wolf and the body of a human, it prowls the swamps and roams at night capturing anyone it might come across. Misbehaving children would often be warned by their parents that if they weren’t on their best behavior, the rougarou might come to get them.

A face to face encounter with the rougarou would never end well. It is said that those who come into contact with one will fall under its curse and become a rougarou. Only time would tell if one could ever gain back their humanity. However, there is one way to ward off such an encounter if you feel the rougarou is coming after you – place 13 pennies at your doorstep at night. The rougarou cannot count beyond twelve, and it will spend the rest of the night desperately trying to count to thirteen, forgetting that it came for you entirely.

The Work

While creating the rougarou character, we began creating the typeface that would make up the logo’s namesake. We wanted something light and fun that would compliment the appeal of the new rougarou character and help distance the brand from the murkier, darker swamps that often serve as a backdrop to Cajun folklore. The letterforms’ skeletons were kept simple, monowidth, and modular, but the accents allow a playful character to arise with odd serifs and double lined crossbars and strokes. This approach to the primary typeface of the Rougarou Fest would lay the groundwork for the line-work graphics to come.

The Work

Over the years, we’ve created a multitude of event collateral for the festival ranging from ads to signage to entire stage banners. Guests navigate the fest with illustrated tri-fold maps of the event grounds, while signs stand in key areas as reminders of grounds rules. In 2014, we were given the honor of creating the year’s commemorative poster; a collaboration piece between the creative team. In the end, the “Rougarou”, a complete brand risk taken years ago, has become as important a character to us as he has to the festival he so proudly leads.