Capital North 


The government has recently revealed strategy to develop the North of England as a second economic capital in Britain to redress the economic balance across the country and to compete on the world stage. They are calling this strategy 'Northern Powerhouse'. 

The government believes that, by improving the transport infrastructure through HS3, connect Leeds to Manchester, and tapping into the huge potential of the North of England, the North will become the globally significant force it has always promised to be. 

Great global cities have many attributes - access to a deep pool of human capital, great jobs and business. Fast and effective transport connections. Strong universities and hospitals, colleges and schools. They have the entertainment, the green spaces, the housing, culture and sport that makes for a good lifestyle. 

On a global scale northern cities are quite small and have individual strengths but together they have the capacity to act as a global city. They concept of 'The Northern Powerhouse' builds on the idea that those cities, in a belt that runs from Liverpool to Hull are stronger together, not as a rival to London, but to be its brother in arms in the fight for Britain's share of the global economy. 

Although HS3 will not be a reality until 2030, the idea already has significant impetus and the process of 'connecting' the major cities has already begun. Although, the current government is driving this forward, the idea has been around for many years and it is now fully accepted that this is the way forward for Britain. 

The Brief. 

To brand the 'Northern Powerhouse' and create awareness of it's many and varied attributes to the rest of the world. 

There's still a lot of uncertainty around the detail of how a 'Northern Powerhouse' will manifest itself, however for the moment let's assume the four cities that head up the powerhouse will be Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull which creates a nice neat line across the North. 

The idea requires a name and a brand, so that the world understands that this is a significant single entity. After a 'consultation process' which all the key stakeholders the name 'Capital North' has been selected - combining purpose and place. It's easy to remember and recall. 

This is an identity project, very much about the craft and visual problem solving of design. The brief and name is all sorted so there's nothing to distract you - concentrate on working a big visual idea around the brief of producing beautifully crafted elements. 

Sweat the small stuff - we want you to work every element really hard. Not only should the big idea be compelling but the way it's brought to life, the attention to detail, the way it looks should be beautiful and carefully considered. 

When considering final solutions, avoid cliches and stereo styles. Rolling countryside, regional dialects and visual shorthands are not appropriate here. This is not about what it's like to be in t'North, its role is to attract interest and investment to a region with an ambition to create prosperity to rival any economic power. 

Organize yourselves into teams, numbering about 4 people in each. We want you to work together to make decisions, to self edit, divide and conquer, and build the presentation as a a team with shared responsibilities. 


Our target audience is very broad - everybody and anybody, in the UK and abroad. We need to spread the word about what a fantastic places this is to do business, to invest in and visit. An area equal to London and major European cities in influence and opportunity. 


To keep that focus on craft skills, technique and refinement, we're limiting you to a smaller number of applications. Only two are compulsory and choose another two from a longer list. 

Of course, if you have a burning desire to demonstrate and application over and above those on the list we'd love to see it. Don't be distracted through by producing lots and lots of content - it's the quality of thinking we're interested in. 

Mandatory Applications. 

The only two compulsory applications are numbers 1 and 2. 

1. Logo 

The key element that will be the building block of our identity.

2. Posters 

A series of 4 posters - one for each key city. They'll be posted in each of the key cities to reinforce locally the importance of being stronger together,

Additional applications. 

3. Train Livery 

The external facade of the train. If it's travelling to and from London and spreading the message of 'Capital North', as it goes, what is it saying?

4. Train Staff Uniform

Show us how the identity works on a smaller scale- how is it used in a subtle way to create impact but still be appropriate and something which instils pride in someone who wears is. 

5. Taxi livery 

Not a black cap you might expect to see covered in advertising. If you got in a taxi anywhere in 'Capital North' what would it look like?

6. Environmental

How does the brand live in the city environment? How does it integrate into our city scales, our communities, our architecture. How is the identity brought to life everyday for the people of 'Capital North'?

7. A 'What's On' app. 

Tell us whats happening in 'Capital North'. How do we do this in an innovative and engaging way? Concentrate on the big idea and bring it to life in a succinct way rather than too much detail on navigation architecture. 


Monday 2nd Feb 2015. 10.30am. Briefing

Wednesday 11th Feb 2015. 10.00am Working day
Come armed with logo executions, supporting thoughts and ideas.

Friday 27th Feb 2015. 10.00am. Presentations and Judging.