Leeds bid for European Capital of Culture 2023

Leeds City Council has today revealed a new brand identity to support its bid for the European Capital of Culture 2023 title, which will be seen across marketing campaigns from January 2017.

Over 50 organisations from Leeds culture sector have visually shown their support for the city’s bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 by adopting the specially designed typeface. This temporary brand “take-over” has been launched by the 50 organisations, from across culture, arts and education in Leeds from 29th November 2016.

Nicola Greenan, East Street Arts External Relations Director, is Chair of the Engagement Sub Group for Leeds Capital of Culture 2023 bid. She forms part of the Independent Steering Group, a 14-strong panel, spearheading Leeds’ bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2023.


The Steering Group of individuals make up a diverse mix of influential figures from the local arts, culture, business, education and political sectors, and is chaired by Sharon Watson, artistic director of the city’s renowned Phoenix Dance Theatre.

Independent brand specialist Lee Goater was commissioned to create the brand design – known for his previous international work for cultural organisations and exhibitions.

To communicate Leeds 2023’s ambitious, experimental, collaborative and open core values, Lee brought together a collaborative team of creative practitioners to vision an identity.

The team included London-based typography specialists Dalton Maag (who created the typeface for Rio 2016 Olympics) and rising local stars Hungry Sandwich Club plus digital & content strategists Head Office™ as well as Leeds College of Art graduates.

Lee explained:

“It was all about creating an identity that belongs to everyone and can work on a community and international scale.
We wanted to create a solution that reflected how we felt about culture – it needed to be playful, intriguing and sometimes even challenging, something that makes you turn your head.”


Based around primary shapes and geometry, the bespoke logo and typeface suggests connections between diverse cultural organisations, communities and audiences: ensuring the experimental visual identity remained inclusive and accessible.

Anita Morris, Chair of Leeds 2023 Marketing & Communications Advisory Group said:

“The new identity will really bring the bid to life with its quirky and intriguing animations and playful typeface. It’s a great vote of confidence in Lee’s work that more than 50 arts and cultural organisations have adopted the new Leeds 2023 typeface in their own communications.”

The bid process takes, in total, four years – conversations started in 2014 and an expression of interest will be made at the end of this year, with a final bid submitted by Dec 2017, and an expected decision in 2018.

For more information, visit: www.leeds2023.co.uk