Here’s an exclusive preview of the all-singing, all-dancing branding which - it is hoped - will help Leeds’s imminent bid for the European Capital of Culture come to life.
The distinctive animated typography - which will form the foundation of all future marketing and merchandising for #Leed2023 - has been designed by an expert team which includes people who helped put together the logos for the Rio Olympics.
The team is being headed up by Lee Goater, a branding specialist who was born and grew up in Leeds.
He explained the fun branding is deliberately designed to intrigue, but at the same time to “feel familiar” and help Leeds people explore their own emotional connections to the city.
Lee, 40, a former Leeds College of Art student, said: “This is the first time we have put anything out there visually for the brand. “It’s a big moment.”
Later today, more than 50 arts, culture and education organisations will show their support for the Leeds bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023 by officially launching and adopting the new Leeds 2023 branding.
Mr Goater said the move is being seen as the city’s official statement of intent to the city - and to the world.
Explaining the thinking behind the animated logo, Mr Goater said it pays both direct and indirect homage to the city and its vast cultural landscape - and people may well recognise nods to landmarks and cultural and historic institutions like the Corn Exchange and Hyde PArk Picture House among many others.
And teasing the meaning behind some of the shapes, he said one symbol might represent “the lampshades outside Hyde Park Picture House - or a trophy for when we win!”.
“Culture should be intriguing,” Mr Goater said.
“It should make you want to look and try to understand what’s going on.
“And then when you work it out, it’s really rewarding. So the typeface is meant to do that.
“And we wanted it to be alive - so it was important to have animation.”
Mr Goater said he is hugely proud to be so involved in what could be a seminal moment in Leeds’s ongoing cultural story.
“It’s important to me because Leeds is my hometown and it’s where I became culturally aware. I have a lot of love for Leeds,” he said.
“My mum brought me up on her own in Leeds.
“She used to take us to the Henry Moore Institute and the Sculpture Park and Leeds Art Gallery and that’s really where I was getting switched on to it all.”
Asked about fears raised following recent speculation about whether or not the UK will keep to its 2023 obligation post Brexit, Mr Goater said “we are staying positive”.
“We have worked our socks off and we have every right to bid for it,” he said.
As previously reported, Leeds has spent two years and around £500,000 of both public money and private sector sponsorship in putting together its expression of interest.
Speaking to the YEP earlier, Cluny Macpherson, the city council’s arts and culture chief, said “nothing has changed” in terms of Leeds’s intense preparations to officially bid for the title, despite the inevitable nervousness triggered by whispers at Whitehall.
“We have been preparing for this for years and done lots of work,” he said.
“It feels like we are on the starting blocks, have our team in place and have done all the training we need to do. We are just waiting for the Government to fire the starting pistol.”