Studio DBD’s British Pop Archive branding factors to the north west

The explosive compass symbol is a “simple yet iconic mark” for the newly launched archive, which will celebrate and preserve all aspects of UK popular culture

Located at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library at the University of Manchester, the British Pop Archive (BPA) collection, which opens to the public in May, is home to everything from handwritten lyrics by Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and Factory Records artwork by Peter Saville, through to the Granada Television archive.

It’s a new focus for the library, which holds other major cultural documents such as the Gutenberg Bible and Shakespeare’s First Folio.

Studio DBD’s branding references the archive’s Manchester location, with its spiky symbol designed as a new interpretation of the compass – pointing towards the north west of England. Dave Sedgewick, studio founder, describes it as “an instantly recognisable graphic icon which represented the expression of the project in the simplest form possible”.

As well as the main symbol, Sedgwick has designed a set of circular graphics, each reflecting an era from the 1950s onwards, and directly inspired by some of the archive’s album covers and printed material. An authoritative sans serif typeface, and a striking black and orange colour scheme, complete the launch branding.

The Face magazine featuring Boy George photographed by Jill Furmanovsky, 1982, Image courtesy University of Manchester
Sex Pistols Anarchy In The UK tour poster, unknown designer, 1976, image courtesy University of Manchester
The Haçienda The First Birthday, Fac 83, 1983, design Peter Saville Associates, Courtesy Peter Saville

The BPA officially opens on 19 May, with an exhibition focused on Manchester’s contribution to British pop history.;