This is it: the new look for the 2003 Mardi Gras festival and season. Designed by Greg Anderson of Trigger Design and illustrated by Paul Clark, you’ll soon see this image and a companion image in a thousand different places: on posters, in advertisements and on the cover of the 2003 Festival Guide, which hits the streets tomorrow.

New Mardi Gras co-chair Stevie Clayton said the poster design reflected the blending and inclusive concept of the organisation.

It’s got younger people, dykes, gay men, a drag queen, a 78er -¦ it’s a bringing together of people from different generations, she said.

Anderson said the design, which will also carry through to the Mardi Gras website, is intended to celebrate the past, present and future of Mardi Gras.

We were also trying to make it look a bit more fun and fresh, he said. Every-one so far seems to have a positive reaction to it.

The design had to be relevant to a diverse community, but no one piece of communication can represent everyone -“ or should even try to, Anderson said. I have tried to be representative but not prescriptive about identity. By the same token I have endeavoured to avoid that -˜everything and the kitchen sink’ type of design that attempts to be everything to everyone but is actually nothing to anyone.

Sixty thousand copies of the Festival Guide have been produced, and will be available wherever you pick up your copy of Sydney Star Observer.

Every year the Mardi Gras Festival Guide is an eagerly anticipated read, but its release this year should do much to instil community confidence in Mardi Gras. It’s on, it’s happening, read all about it.

It feels like a significant achievement just to have got this far, Clayton said. It’s incredibly exciting to have this Guide out -“ it’s a sign of what this community has managed to achieve in just the few short months since the old Mardi Gras went down.

A flip through the 64-page publication (produced by Mardi Gras in conjunction with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Community Publishing, publishers of the Star) reveals all about the forthcoming festival and features advertisements and messages from sponsors old and new (including a memorably cheeky ad from Volvo -“ but you’ll have to wait to see it).

The Guide also features messages of support from a range of politicians, including Bob Carr, John Brogden, Simon Crean, and -“ for the first time since 1997 -“ a message of support from a minister of the federal Liberal government.

Tourism minister Joe Hockey extended a welcome to Mardi Gras visitors in his message of support and said the event showcases Australia as a country that combines cosmopolitan and diverse tourism experiences with world-class facilities.

Clayton said the message of support page had been a dilemma for Mardi Gras organisers in previous years. The messages of support lend an increased degree of credibility to Mardi Gras, she said, but there had been criticism in the past of the inclusion of some messages of support -“ namely those from politicians representing parties which had not moved on areas of gay and lesbian law reform.

This year we wanted maximum exposure, the widest breadth of support for the organisation, Clayton explained. We felt it was important to get all sides of parliament.

We didn’t approach John Howard, she added.

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