IF: Milton Keynes International Festival

Branding a city to reflect an eclectic 10 day experience.

Our creative team have worked with the team at IF: Milton Keynes International Festival since it’s inception in 2010, it’s taken place every 2 years and has had an incredible impact on the regional economy. Engaging around 500,000 people, the Festival presents a world-class, multi-arts programme over 10 days which includes large-scale and family events.

The Festival is now regarded by Arts Council England as ‘one of the two best branded Festivals in the UK’ and it is also officially recognised by the EuropeanFestivals Association as ‘one of Europe’s most remarkable festivals’.

We were responsible for naming the festival – IF – reflecting the ‘International Festival’ theme, we then used smart copy lines to integrate throughout the programme such as ‘IF you’re looking for an amazing experience this Summer…’ and ‘IF you have a sense of adventure…’ using copy and imagery to appeal to a wide audience.

A bold, vibrant pink has become synonymous with the festival, along with a graphic style that showcases the many diverse and exciting experiences over the 10 days.

We were thrilled to be commissioned again for the 2018 festival after 2016 was such a success. In 2016 we promoted the festival and it’s huge programme of artists ranging from Miguel Chevalier to the epic Arts Admin Dominoes.

The festival pulled in over 500,000 visitors from across the UK to see over 300 artists from 12 countries.

With that in mind, the team wanted to build on this for 2018. With the programme being so diverse and eclectic, from celebrating circus for Circus 150 to unique and surprising events that could see visitors riding in a ‘dodgem’ car, appearing in a film, or seeing Milton Keynes Theatre from a completely new perspective. With such a varied audience too, appealing through comedy, performance, dance, installations, family events and late night celebrations we had to create a visual language to reflect this.

The bold pink was used as a background colour to use dramatic cut out images, bursting out of the space to reflect the thrilling programme and showcasing the many incredible performers.

The communications were rolled out across the city and beyond. Working with media buyers to plan and define the best use of budget and to secure coverage in local and national publications such as The Guardian, The Observer and The Times, ensuring the festival had national awareness. Press was supported by a wide outdoor media plan, with outdoor 6 sheets, 4 sheets, 48 sheets, bus and rail advertising and supported by social media activity, coverage
was maximised.


Festival site photography by ©Shaun Armstrong,