What’s Next Southampton?

By Victor Smith

Reflecting on our work for “What’s Next Southampton?’ summer festival

We recently had the pleasure to work with the University of Southampton to create the branding for ‘What’s Next Southampton?’.

What’s Next Southampton? was a free arts, fashion and music festival for children, young people and families. The festival featured indie, rap and R&B on the main stage and African Drumming, Bollywood Dancing, creative writing, theatre and music across the cultural quarter. It took place on Saturday 24 June 12 – 6pm, on Guildhall Square and Cultural Quarter Venues.

We worked extensively with young people as clients, this made the project particularly different to many other projects of ours. Six young people from Southampton were recruited to become ‘Cultural Connectors’ from a public call out, each recruit has developed their own contribution for the event. The ‘Cultural Connectors’ brought a fresh and vibrant perspective to the project. Their unique ideas, creativity, and energy infused the branding process with a dynamic and youthful spirit.


We were tasked with branding the event in a way that resonated with young people, and inspired them, and represented the diverse and exciting range of cultures and creativity that Southampton has to offer.

Our final solution used connecting hands, colours and shapes to visualise diverse cultures. These hands represent the people within Southampton, they point/connect/hold/ intertwine and have unique personalities (rings and hand signals). Alongside unique patterns and shapes to represent the various cultural opportunities in the city. Our logo, typography, colours and imagery were all bright and energetic to represents Southampton’s cultural diversity. All of these elements decorated the cultural quarter and billboards all around Southampton as well as a website dedicated to the festival.

Here is a link to their website: https://whatsnextsouthampton.uk/

It was a pleasure to be part of an initiative that encouraged cultural understanding and appreciation among young individuals. We aimed to ignite curiosity, encourage exploration, and foster a sense of possibility among the youth, thus widening the cultural perspectives of young people in the community. We are proud to have supported such a local event that empowers young people and gives them an opportunity to express themselves, and see how they can explore a path into creative careers.

Here is a link to an article explaining the success of ‘What’s Next Southampton?’: https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/free-art-fashion-music-festival-023000120.html