Cheltenham Festivals calls in Milton as consultant

Cheltenham Festivals is set to position itself as a major cultural landmark with a decision to overhaul its brand and visual identity for the summer.

CF chief executive Donna Renney has appointed Howard Milton, founder of Smith & Milton, to provide a strategic consultancy role overseeing the creation of the identity, as well as communications relating to programming, sponsorship and promotion.

She says the move will give the charity the ability to approach its branding with a long-term view, and aims to unite the four festivals – jazz, science, music (pictured) and literature – as well as maintaining their individuality.

According to Renney, ‘A new national and international identity will be a solid step for CF to achieve its vision to be a world leader in cultural festivals. The primary motive for conducting this activity is to both attract and retain key sponsorship, raise awareness and attract greater numbers to the four festivals that we hold across the year.’

Milton will advise existing design suppliers to CF on strategy and direction, and the first phase of the project will be to focus on the new identity. He is also expected to invite ‘guest’ designers to tackle each area.

‘Part of the job is about making sure they are all going in the same direction,’ says Milton. ‘There are four very different events. They are quite diverse, so it is a complex task to bring them together, but also keep them separate. Rather than just giving free rein to designers, there will be a very tight practical brief.’

Milton is working as an independent consultant on this project. His company Smith & Milton Limited continues to operate, while his Smith & Milton Original was put into administration in December.

• The four festivals are jazz, science, music and literature
• The music festival launched in 1945, literature in 1949, jazz in 1996 and science in 2002
• In 2006, the four festivals collectively became the Cheltenham Festivals. As a registered charity, Cheltenham Festivals has its own marketing, education and development team and, for the first time, a chief executive – Donna Renney

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