NewsNow + The Creative Folkestone Book Festival

NewsNow was the Principle Partner of the 2019 Creative Folkestone Book Festival, during which the festival hosted readings from, and interviews with, a variety of talented authors. The theme of the festival was “The Shape of Things to Come” which, amid Brexit, climate change protests, and other divisive and prominent political and cultural shifts of the time, aligned well with NewsNow’s long-standing mission to enable people to read widely and develop informed understandings of important issues. 

NewsNow’s partnership with the festival materialised via an array of digital kiosks placed around the festival venue, displaying a bespoke web app that showed the latest news headlines from a variety of topics, directly from our API, running on Raspberry Pis. In addition to this, we were offered the opportunity to display a short editorial/promotional film, both in the main auditorium before each event, and intermittently on our kiosks.


The overall goals for the event, aside from the overarching social purpose and support for the local creative industry in Folkestone, were to develop and elevate the identity and public awareness of NewsNow as a brand and prepare brand materials that would facilitate future events sponsorship.


My role throughout the event was distributed as follows:

  • Design, development, and overall implementation of the kiosk app, working closely with the company directors and the development team, and as the sole designer
  • Aiding in technical and practical aspects of the A/V installation, from display panel technology specifications to prototype setups, to the physical installation of our Raspberry Pi units on location
  • Working alongside the COO, with various merchandise suppliers to manage our promotional merchandise for the event, supplying print-ready design files and quality control
  • Writing, storyboarding, editing, and audio engineering for the short film, in a collaborative process with the directors and editorial team
  • Design for a full-page print ad to run in the festival programme

Of all the work I undertook for this event, I was personally most pleased with the short film, which was very well received, and required a diverse skill set that I am not often able to employ in my profession, and I have a long-standing love for linear media (both audio and video) production. Through our early concept meetings where various team members developed draft scripts, the team decided to run with my script. Initially, we had planned to outsource the production to a video agency, but after some deliberation over our in-house capabilities and their early drafts, I put myself forward to produce the film. 

Given the short time frame, I had to produce the film, shooting our own footage was not an option, so we had to rely on quality editorial and stock footage, which was challenging, but I feel happy with the result overall.

The concept behind the piece is that of unity in the face of adversity. In a time when people seem most divided, and when polarisation appears to trump rational discourse, it’s important for us to recognise each other as human beings; to be understanding, and to take the time to appreciate nuance, complexity, and even chaos. By taking the time to see the world through the eyes of others, we can learn to appreciate those who see things differently, rather than reject them. This concept is not only something that I am personally passionate about, but it is representative of NewsNow’s fundamental purpose.


Overall, the event was a great success. As a team, we had successfully created a set of reusable assets, skills, and processes with which to approach future events, and had developed a stronger brand identity both internally and in the eyes of event attendees. 

Additionally, the film was well-received at the festival, both by the organisers and the attendees. Classes of children, attending the festival on school trips, applauded in the auditorium at the end of the film, and it has since been a linchpin in subsequent discussions about NewsNow’s ethos and brand identity.

Watch: NewsNow - There’s More Than One Way to See Things