North and Peter Saville reveal new brand identity for Factory International

The visual identity builds on the legacy of Factory Records, MIF and Manchester itself, launching as the organisation’s much-anticipated new performance venue Aviva Studios opens to the public.

26 October 2023


Design studio North has worked with graphic designer Peter Saville to develop a new brand identity for Factory International, the organisation behind Manchester International Festival (MIF) and new Manchester venue, Aviva Studios. The identity centres around a geometric symbol. The symbol is inspired by the Aviva Studios architecture – designed by OMA’s Ellen van Loon – as well as previous Factory Records visual identities, which Saville co-founded in the late 70s.

The symbol also denotes creative potential, as North describes in a release: “the symbol represents the space, the opportunity, the blank canvas; a new factory where the art of the future will be made”. It comes alive in animations, warping and transforming to adapt to various identities for events and different outputs, “evolving like the building itself” and forming an anchor to most visual content across the identity.

The font used is the same one North deployed for the last three MIFs, a monospace cut of Gräebenbach by Camelot, which the studio says lends a “machine-like functionality” to the information. Meanwhile, Gräebenbach Mono Black uppercase is used for headlines for “maximum standout and personality”.


North + Peter Saville: Factory International identity (Copyright © North + Peter Saville, 2023)

The colour palette is vibrant, to juxtapose the utilitarian typography and symbol, but the flexible identity allows for any colour to be used for marketing the various productions taking place at Aviva Studios.

North has been working with Saville on the visual identity development of MIF and Factory International since 2018. This month, Factory International presents its first official public performance, titled Free Your Mind. The studio has collaborated with Antony Hart, ex-North senior designer and head of the Factory International design team, to develop the identity across everything from art direction and event marketing to uniforms, signage and the website. The team also worked closely with OMA to ensure the meeting of graphic language and architecture were harmonious.

Peter Saville commented on the launch: “I see Factory International, and its new home, as a two-way portal between Manchester and the world, through the broadest medium of the arts. The world comes in through it and Manchester goes out through it. It is itself a signifier of intent and ambition, so it’s inspiring.”

In a playful twist on the tropes of rebrand project case studies, North has launched the new brand identity guidelines by producing real-life fly posters, “Manchester’s pop culture communication format of choice” North explains, and displaying them around the city.

GalleryNorth + Peter Saville: Factory International identity (Copyright © North + Peter Saville, 2023)


Aviva Studios. Photo by Marco Cappelletti, courtesy of OMA and Factory International

North + Peter Saville: Factory International identity (Copyright © North + Peter Saville, 2023)

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North + Peter Saville: Factory International identity (Copyright © North + Peter Saville, 2023)

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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