‘Venice of the North’ takes punt on Elmwood branding

Elmwood has created an identity to float Bradford’s bid to become a latter-day ‘Venice of the North’, the positioning that architect Will Alsop has sketched in a multi- million pound regeneration plan for the Yorkshire city.

Regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, Bradford City Council and private backers are all expected to fund the scheme, which proposes to create four new neighbourhoods in Bradford over the next 15 years. The project earned its watery epithet by virtue of Alsop’s idea to turn part of the city centre into an urban lake, fed by the river or ‘Broad Ford’ that originally gave the city its name.

Elmwood’s work – for development company Bradford Centre Regeneration – builds on its design for Bradford’s unsuccessful 2008 City of Culture entry. That logo was inspired by a painting by David Hockney, probably Bradford’s most famous son, while the new marque echoes the grid pattern that is central to Alsop’s vision.

‘It’s an evolution of the City of Culture identity,’ says Elmwood project manager Jan Hirst. ‘Alsop has divided the city up into 64 squares – 8km by 8km – and the design replicates that idea. At the core is a 2km by 2km square that will be the principal area of development, with the four new urban quarters.’

The brand will be communicated by a series of ‘b’ words like ‘breathtaking’ and ‘brilliant’, with colour blocks from the identity used to differentiate particular messages.

Elmwood is likely to be the brand guardian going forward and design director Jon Stubley and designer Eric Sui make up the creative team.

Under Alsop’s plan, a new business district called the Bowl, a canal-side leisure area called the Channel, a revamped retail core called the Market and a wetland garden called the Valley will all be introduced to the city.

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