Skip to main content

Leithal Thinking Brand & Marketing Consultancy

A toile to tell the story

  • Edinburgh International Festival

A toile to tell the story

Edinburgh International Festival 09 explored the ideas and thinking of the enlightenment period; Scotland and its place in the world; diasporas and notions of homecoming. For the world’s most prestigious arts Festival we delivered an idea that was applied across multiple channels, taking inspiration from an art genre that reflected Edinburgh at the time of the Scottish Enlightenment.

The genre was ‘Toile de Jouy’, a technique that originated in France during the 1750’s. The imagery in this artform may look traditional to us now but the depiction of scenes in some, were considered highly controversial and political at the time. It was a genre that allowed us to transform traditional subjects and ideas with a fresh, 21st century perspective that could speak loudly to people in the present.

A toile to tell the story

The complete 'Edinburgh Toile' as created by timorous beastie

To execute this story we chose to work with Timorous Beasties whose exploration of the ‘Toile’ style has seen them receive international praise and recognition for their surreal and provocative textiles and wallpapers. The final toile delivered this and much more in its depiction, challenging perceptions with its originality and creativity.

The urban landscape in many UK cities appears to be changing all the time. Iconic modern buildings give us a strong sense of identity and sit alongside monuments to great minds of the past, stunning period architecture and the practicalities and realities of a modern city. These provided a rich source for our ‘Edinbugh Toile.’ At first glance it looks like one of the magnificent vistas portrayed on early Toile de Jouy wallpaper, but closer inspection reveals a different vision of contemporary Edinburgh.

A toile to tell the story

The toile revealed a different vision of contemporary Edinburgh

Elements of the design include iconic buildings St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament and Carlton Hill; historical figures including David Hume, James Boswell, Robert Burns and Greyfriars bobby; tour buses and tartan tourist shops; tramworks and roadworks; people going about their business, fast food caravans, homeless people, modern housing developments and a love of drink. EIF references included the Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert, a firebrand conductor and ballet dancer incorporated into elements of the cityscape. It added an affectionate, frank and honest vision of modern Edinburgh for Festival 09.

A toile to tell the story

 

The campaign also worked hard to help deliver both profile and financial revenue. Income from fundraising increased by 7% from the previous year, the number of overseas visitors increased to 15% of all festival goers. Between launch day and the end of the Festival the website saw an increase of 27% in unique visitors. Festival 09 achieved £2.58m box office sales. This represented 398,760 attendances at Festival events.

A toile to tell the story