Bradford’s Olympic legacy

Odsal Sports Village (OSV).

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This is the new logo for Odsal Sports Village (OSV) – the partnership brand proposition behind Bradford Council’s plans for the re-development of Odsal stadium, currently home to Rugby League’s famous Bradford Bulls.

The man behind the new design is Paul Kerfoot, Creative MD of Bulletpoint Design Ltd. (established in 1989 and based in Little Germany, Bradford). Like a bull in a China shop our local branding hero proudly points out, “A good logo design is often about keeping it simple. A great design also needs to be effective. To be memorable the finished brand needed to be both simple and clever.”

Bradford and the city centre in particular are undergoing a vast transformation – albeit with slow progress due to the current economic climate…

“The city and the people of Bradford needed a bit of a boost,” claims Paul and after 20 years of similar, failed Odsal schemes he passionately believes that something as simple as a logo will help raise both people’s aspirations and the cash to do it. “No, it’s not just a logo – it’s potentially the foundation stone to help build a powerful brand – our aim was to motivate and inspire people and to do that Bulletpoint Design has kept my promise to the host of VIPs and partners behind OSV to deliver something memorable – a logo with a rather nice twist to it.”

The designer twist

The logo for OSV symbolizes a simple, stylized androgynous figure in a sporting-like pose. Okay it looks like nothing new in terms of style and execution, with its loose calligraphy style, yet interestingly this was the first idea created. “A quick scribble on a post it note, not on the back of a fag packet,” quips Paul.

OSV-Scribble

However this style is popular and has recognition value with the general public, recalling previous Olympic logos (think Barcelona 1992, Sydney 2002 and Beijing 2008), yet (honestly) the scribble was created before any research even took place. In fact, looking back the twist concept and thought process behind the OSV logo (2009) is similar to one created over 20 years ago. The ‘PK’ (Paul Kerfoot) logo on the left was designed in 1989 whilst Paul was working in Leeds after leaving Dewsbury & Batley Art College at the start of his design career.

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And the twist? Well, turn the logo on its side and you can read the acronym – OSV. For the presentations to the OSV’s important working and steering groups Paul showed just these three letters first, in black on white, before quickly jumping (with a ninety degree twist) to the finished OSV logo in glorious colour. Paul comments, “you could almost hear that wonderful silence, and the pin drop, then altogether everyone (quietly) went, ‘whooooah – that’s clever.’ Result.”OSVosvNow you would think the presentation could have ended right there. Not at all. The Bulletman still had one or two more tricks up his sleeve. “First I let everyone know where the colours had come from.” During research the team at Bulletpoint came across a thermo graphic image showing the coloured heat-signature emitted by the body when doing physical exercise. From this developed the OSV logo’s multihued treatment.

“At this point in the client presentation the smiles in the audience changed to nodding heads of approval,” Paul explains, “then for our finale we showed how the logo’s colour palette might be used and adapted for the OSV’s four core buzzwords and sub-brands; health, education, entertainment and accommodation. Job done I think!”

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Please click here to download the internal brief sheet, a copy of the final logo and four sub-brands (Adobe Acrobat PDF file).

Vision. At the next stage the logo was developed into a brand proper with suggestions for how the logo should be used on literature and merchandise.

Bradford’s flying designer can hardly contain his excitement at this point, “I can see the future. A series of coloured banners flying down Manchester Road on a hot summer’s day. I get a call to go up to the village as they need the okay on the coloured tiles for the swimming pool logo.”

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This is just one example of Paul’s enthusiastic ambitions for the OSV brand and clearly one of his particular favourites. Back to earth, and October 2009 for a moment, “Next we are going to get some merchandise samples,” Paul explains, “a set of coloured tracksuit tops and polo shirts made up with an embroidered OSV logo. I can just imagine the next working and steering group meetings now. It will make a refreshing change – certainly a twist on wearing a suit for a meeting

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OSVfabric

Intelligent design

At this point Paul recalls the credentials pitch for the OSV project. One pivotal moment in the presentation, also one of the reason’s the client later appointed Bulletpoint, was a chance remark from Bradford Council’s marketing manager Gary Wood; “I really like the logos Bulletpoint produced for Bradford Tourism (Ilkley and Saltaire, 2003.) It’s the thinking that goes on in the background that appeals to me. Clever, intelligent design.”

And finally! Bulletpoint often like to end a design case study with a client testimonial. Here’s what Bradford Council’s project manager Ian Day had to say; “We are delighted with the results and believe that the OSV logo will provide strong brand recognition with flexibility. Bulletpoint worked hard to ensure that all partners were engaged in the process. The creativity inherent within the company is evident in both the quality of the work, the quality of presentation and the methodology employed. As with previous work from Bulletpoint it is the intelligence behind the design that we believe will build longevity within the logo and the brand.”

Article first published: October 27th 2009