IF: Milton Keynes International Festival

Branding an eclectic 10 day festival.

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 European Festivals 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 communications were rolled out across the city and beyond. Working with media buyers to secure coverage in local and national publications such as The Guardian, The Observer and The Times supported by a wide outdoor media plan, with outdoor 6 sheets, 4 sheets, 48 sheets, bus and rail advertising along with social media activity to maximise national awareness.

The festival is produced by The Stables, a Milton Keynes theatre, their audience tracking shows that festival-goers have become regular arts attenders to their venue. In 2010 some 80% of festival ticket purchasers were new to The Stables database and the venue took the opportunity to market its venue programme to this new audience.

Since then, those first-time purchasers have gone on to spend £50,000 on venue tickets and the total to the end of 2018 spent by these and subsequent first-time festival ticket purchasers was over £112,000.

In times of diminishing subsidies, this has translated into generating a younger, more diverse audience of regular venue attenders.


Festival site photography by ©Shaun Armstrong, mubsta.com