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Birmingham Design Festival

Birmingham Design Festival is an internationally recognised festival, and is a celebration of the local, national and international design industry.


In 2024 we (Lions of Dissent) became official music partner for the festival, a project which I managed and directed. Music, design, moving image and art are intrinsically linked in many ways, but primarily by their ability to provoke and inspire an emotional reaction and foster a deep connection. So when the opportunity presented itself to work with the BDF team to create original music for the festival, we grabbed it with both hands!

Some of the key aspects of the brief included:

The creation of a suite of audio elements which were used on the festival launch video, speaker announcement visuals and festival highlights video on BDF social media and digital channels.

Composing an expansive 45-minute ambient soundtrack for use within the auditorium as festival goers enter/leave or are waiting for an event to start.


Sonic branding to reflect the four districts of the festival – Digital, Product, Graphic and Illustration – each 30-second piece was used as an entrance soundtrack for speakers, complementing visuals created by the BDF team.

“Working with Tim and Lions of Dissent on our sonic branding was something new and exciting for us this year, so it was hard to know what to expect, but any expectations we did have, they totally blew out of the water!”

Luke Tonge - BDF Co-director & Co-founder

For the sonic branding of the districts our concept was to create one overarching piece of music which we then transposed into four different musical styles to reflect each district theme. The creative process of interpreting each district sonically was very intuitive and instinctual.


We took inspiration from the types of speakers who featured, along with the typefaces and colour palettes used. In total we created four options for each district with a total of 16 30-second vignettes of sound. The BDF team chose their four favourites very quickly with no major amends, other than a request for each piece to start the same. The resulting four 30-second vignettes take on their own musical persona whilst creating a consistent soundtrack for the festival.

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Image: Verity Milligan

BDF was a really exciting and creatively fulfilling project to work on and also the beginning of a new creative partnership between Lions of Dissent and BDF for 2024/25.

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"Tim and the group really listened and understood what we needed, and then went above and beyond to produce multiple bespoke tracks for various use cases, which really improved how cohesive and considered everything felt. We had heaps of positive feedback including people asking where the music came from, so we're very excited to be working with them again. Highly recommended!"

Luke Tonge - BDF Co-director & Co-founder

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