Spencer du Bois has designed an identity for the UK’s tenure as European Capital of Culture in 2008, as the six cities still in the frame prepare for a decision on the winner.
The Prime Minister will announce the UK’s nomination from a shortlist of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle Gateshead and Oxford by early June.
All the cities have used logos and design work in their bids, but the Spencer du Bois identity, commissioned by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, provides the main visual emblem for the initiative. It will be used as an endorsement by the winning city.
‘The brief was to create a simple typographic logo that was clean, clear, uncluttered and easy to read,’ says Spencer du Bois creative partner John Spencer. ‘It had to encompass a European feel, but without using the clichÃ©d European Union stars.’
He describes the identity as a ‘celebration of culture’ with a ‘ribbon-like, calligraphic C and a hint of an E’.
The consultancy won the work last month without a pitch. It is now producing a brochure, certificates and awards material.
‘The reason why there is such a long lead time is that the winning city will need several years to get funding in place and organise its year-long programme of events,’ says Spencer.
Starting in 2005, the European Capital of Culture is a successor to the European City of Culture programme that did so much to revitalise Glasgow when it held the title in 1999.
Shortlisted cities must show they are capable of staging a year of arts and cultural events and attracting visitors from home and abroad. The boost that a winning bid can give to a city’s economy is significant and a raft of design and regeneration work is likely to follow the Government’s decision.