Bradford City of Culture 2025

Rabbithole creates the branding for Bradford City of Culture 2025

The Bradford 2025 visual identity seeks to create a sense of ‘one Bradford’, and features a heart-shaped logo inspired by local place naming conventions

Every four years, a city around the UK is designated a City of Culture, bringing social and economic benefits to the area and giving it a moment in the spotlight. In response, the host city organises a series of cultural festivities to celebrate the win and to champion homegrown creative talent.

In 2025, the UK City of Culture will be Bradford, following on from Derry-Londonderry, Hull and Coventry in 2013, 2017 and 2021 respectively. Ahead of the launch next year, Leeds-based creative studio Rabbithole has worked on a visual identity for Bradford City of Culture, drawing inspiration from the city’s unique heritage and characteristics.

In contrast to previous City of Culture identities, the team at Rabbithole were keen to avoid formulaic “shape and colour branding”, instead opting for more distinctive visual devices. “During the research and discovery phase of the project, we fell in love with Bradford,” says Mark Martin, strategy director of Rabbithole. “Bradfordians have developed a do-it-yourself attitude, with most of the cultural endeavours [being] community led. We were inspired by the warmth, unfiltered honesty, idiosyncratic character, and sharp humour of Bradfordians – which we wanted to channel in the identity.”

At the centre of the branding is the logo, which is based on Bradford postcodes that have historically been used by locals to identify which part of the city they call home (BD8 for Manningham, BD4 for Tong, and so on).

Bradford City of Culture 2025

Drawing inspiration from this tradition, the team at Rabbithole developed a logo made up of ‘B’ and ‘d’ letterforms, intersected on a 45-degree angle to form the shape of a heart. “The mix of square and circle represents Bradford’s stark contrasts and contradictions: bucolic rural landscapes and dense urban centres, UNESCO heritage sites and a new generation of digital creatives,” says Rabbithole.

Working with Bradford’s distinctive profile, they also developed a refined, three-tone colour palette consisting of gold, in reference to the city’s sunlit sandstone architecture; green, drawn from the district’s rural landscapes and domed mosques; and baby pink, nodding to the humour, playfulness and peculiarity that the city is known for. “It’s an unusual combination and one that Bradford can own,” the studio explains.

Elsewhere, collage, portrait photography and simple typographic expressions tie together the identity, giving a sense of fun and spotlighting the characters that make Bradford what it is today. Around each of these elements is a framing device that the team have named ‘the Bradford glow’, which wraps around different types of content to further unite the overall system. Crucially, this device offers easy appropriation for Bradfordians, meaning it can be applied to everything from billboards to air fresheners to DIY fly posters.

“We want Bradfordians to own and use the brand in their own ways.” says Rabbithole creative director, Tim Dee. “There are many different place identities across the district, which creates an immediate challenge. Our aim with the brand identity design was to unite the district under ‘one Bradford’.”

Bradford City of Culture 2025