Manchester Literature Festival rebrands

Manchester Literature Festival is set to reinvent itself next month under a radically different identity, created by Mark Studio.

The festival, now in its third year, is evolving with an expanding programme, according to festival director Cathy Bolton, and needed a flexible and forward-looking brand to take it into the next phase.

The existing logo, by Astill Associates, was created in 2006 after the event grew out of the Manchester Poetry Festival, which had been running for 12 years. It did not function well as a brand identity or in application, according to Mark Studio founder Mark Lester. He says that it was less of an identity, and more of a standalone logo.

‘Purely on a practical level, the previous logo was very difficult to work with. It was far too complicated, both in meaning, or lack of it, and graphic treatment. We wanted to get back to basics and create a graphic mark which, along with other key elements such as colour, tone of voice, imagery and typography, would form part of a visual and flexible identity,’ says Lester.

Mark Studio won the brief to give the festival a ‘more robust’ identity in February after approaching Bolton with concerns, and having created campaign materials for last year’s event.

‘I thought that they needed to look more strategically at where the festival was going, and how it was going to up its game in terms of graphic communication. It’s not always successful to approach clients telling them that their identity doesn’t work, but on this occasion it was best to get under the skin of the organisation,’ says Lester.

The new identity uses graphic representations of book spines leaning against each other to form an M (pictured), in a nod to Manchester. It will be applied to the website – which will be updated in-house – as well as the festival brochure, literature, stationery and advertisements throughout July.

This year’s festival will be based around three elements: Read, which will feature international, prize-winning authors from around the globe; Independent, which will showcase emerging regional talent, typically published by independents; and Freeplay, which is about finding new

Manchester literature festival

• Manchester Literature Festival will run from 16-26 October
• Events will range from Crimes Past to Romantic Fiction, and Poetry in Translation to special family events
• The Big Science Read campaign, organised in partnership with the Manchester Science Festival, Jodrell Bank and Time to Read, will be hosting a series of readings, debates and workshops exploring the overlaps between literature and science

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