International Anthony Burgess Foundation
Client: International Anthony Burgess Foundation
Photography: Fiona Finchett, Graham Foster
Website build: OH Digital
Established in 2003 by Liana Burgess (1929-2007), the International Anthony Burgess Foundation is an independent charity for everyone interested in the work of Anthony Burgess. Best known for his novel A Clockwork Orange, Burgess was a poet, playwright and composer as well as a novelist, writing thirty-three novels, three symphonies, more than 250 other musical works, and thousands of essays, articles and reviews.
In 2016 we began working with the Foundation on a brand refresh and new digital platform which led to us also implementing a new identity system, a new signage and wayfinding scheme for the venue, identities and signage for multiple exhibitions, a series of printed publications and other ongoing projects.
The previous identity featured typewriter-inspired typography and cog design based on the iconic 1972 cover design by David Pelham for A Clockwork Orange. We wanted to build on this and refine the existing identity, simplifying the form of the logo and swapping Courier for Outsiders, a more readable slab serif by A2 Type. Crucially, we moved away from the acronym IABF which to using the much more recognisable full name.
As part of the research process, we spent days trawling through the Burgess Foundation’s archive. The collection contains multiple editions of each novel and we found the wide variety of cover designs from different countries was fascinating.
These book covers became a series of brand illustrations, allowing us to reference not only the famous Clockwork Orange cog but also lesser known titles and their more unusual visual interpretations.
The Foundation’s home in Manchester city centre acts as the base for the Burgess archive, library and study centre, as well as a performance venue for literature and arts events. Balancing these two purposes was central to our brand strategy, ensuring that the Foundation is recognisable as an important event venue in the cultural landscape of the city whilst also reflecting the importance its scholarly work.
Following the Foundation’s refurbishment we developed a signage system for the Café Bar and performance space, including bespoke cog iconography building on the brand mark. We refreshed the exterior signage to give the venue more prominence from the street.
The Foundation website we designed and built with OH Digital provides a home for comprehensive information about Burgess and his work across several disciplines, and includes custom elements such as a browsable timeline and archive.
It showcases information about the venue space, as well as listing upcoming events, browsable by category and date. There is also functionality for the site to host larger custom event seasons such as the 2017 year of centenary celebrations Burgess 100.
Alongside the brand development, we redesigned the Foundation’s annual newsletter for patrons and supporters. Previously a small newsletter sent out by post and PDF, we reimagined it as a much more visual publication with value as a collector’s item. The newsletter is risograph printed in two colours with full colour tip ins to allow new book covers and photography to shine. We choose a different lead colour for each edition, including a special metallic gold edition to celebrate Burgess’s centenary year.
The publication’s name is a play on Burgess’s 1982 novel The End of the World News and we wanted the design to be suitably apocalyptic, using distorted photography, archival material and hand drawn elements to create unexpected layouts that develop with each new edition.
Over the years working with the Foundation we have designed numerous shows in the exhibition space. In addition to this ongoing work, we designed and co-curated an exhibition called Burgess Re-Covered in 2017 as part of Design Manchester. We asked designers from around the world to design original book covers for Burgess’s works and displayed these alongside some of the most iconic and unexpected real book covers from the Foundation’s extensive collection.