Northern Print

Northern Print was established in 1994 and moved to their current home in Newcastle upon Tyne’s cultural quarter of Ouseburn Valley in 2006. To celebrate this, Northern Print asked us to design their new identity, this case study illustrates how we came up with an idea that eventually led to Antony Gormley lending his thumbprint to their logo.

Idea Generation

When we are designing a new brand our idea generation process is to start with a brainstorming session. This involves keywords being written out and along side sketches that relate to those words. During the ideas session an idea popped up when Pete remembered that every time he made prints at Northern Print he came home with inky fingers.

Logo Design

This sparked the idea that inky fingerprints might make an interesting branding device. The next stop was to design a logo using a thumbprint as the icon.  When we were happy with the design we applied it across their stationery and thought it would be a nice touch if each member of the Northern Print team had their own fingerprints on their business card. 

The Result

Northern Print saw the potential in the idea and pushed it even further by asking Anthony Gormley, the artist who created the Angel of the North, if he would lend his thumbprint for the logo. We were more than delighted when he agreed to be filmed making the prints while talking about the art of printmaking. To this day Sir Antony Gormley’s thumbprint features proudly on their logo, proving a good idea will always pass the test of time.

Making a Mark

When Northern Print moved into new premises and held an opening exhibition they asked us to produce a publication to mark the occasion. Each page consisted of a different quote from a different artist from the exhibition. We illustrated each piece of writing with typography only. It was a radical approach which won us a European Design Award for typography


A strong visual identity that communicated the subtleties and power of print was vitally important to us as we are an arts organisation committed to printmaking. The fingerprint logo perfectly encapsulates the uniqueness and universality of printmaking as well as the of work we do at Northern Print. It has stood the test of time and continues to communicate everything that is important to us.

The other branded materials, brochures and catalogues have strengthened our identity with high quality design that allows the artists’ work and ideas to sing out from the page. The selection of paper stock, subtle qualities such as hand-stitching and embossing all reinforce the tactile qualities of print and engage people in our work.

Northern Print

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