Fred thoughts
Placemaking at it's best - Adaptability is key
Sep 2019

When you’re designing a brand that needs to appeal to people of all ages, backgrounds, genders and interests you need to come up with something that is totally adaptable.

In order to be effective and serve its purpose, the brand needs to be something that can be reused and repurposed, time and time again, in a number of ways to engage with the largest possible audience. This can be a tall order at times.

Working on the recent Chelmsford For You placemaking campaign, one of our key objectives was to ensure adaptability. And this meant adaptability in every sense of the word:

The ability to stand the test of time - Brand propositioning is not a fixed point. It needs to be able to evolve with the times, keeping up with trends.

The new brand uses a play on words that brings the brand and the city together. The square around the For You, symbolises the inclusiveness and personalisation of the brand and communicates the engagement of the community. Furthermore, a full suite of vibrant and cohesive colours were applied to showcase the power of the identity.

The typography we choose, the colours we used. All of these needed to come together in a way that ensured the branding will still look great in 10 years’ time and that it will still be as eye-catching and effective as it always was.

Adaptable and appealing to a large range of audiences - Branding a city is a huge undertaking. It’s about capturing the culture and legacy of the area.

Community engagement is a solid starting point. If the placemaking process really has the community at the heart, then you need to keep them involved in any change. Listening to their needs and views and taking these into account when rolling the brand out. Even better than this, make them feel part of the journey. We wanted the brand to empower the local people and encourage them to tell the story.

This is before we then look at our audiences from outside the area. One of the key objectives of the campaign was to promote the City and encourage visitors from further afield. How do we do this – promoting and engaging to encourage them to take action. Placemaking is mostly about perception. We had to take all this onboard when it came to the design.

Ability to appease a large number of stakeholders – Over 100 different stakeholders needed to buy into the Chelmsford For You campaign. Each one with very different views and opinions on things depending on what they needed the brand to do for them. Again, this is no mean feat.

Residents, businesses, national large-scale retailers and the small independents. Local councils, schools and arts groups. The list was endless, as was their list of requirements and what the City means to them. It’s not easy to come up with a concept that everyone can get on board with. But we did it – each and every one of them loved the design!

Totally transferrable across different platforms and uses – Adaptability in the more traditional sense. The Chelmsford For You branding will stand the test of time. And in its lifetime, it will be used in thousands of different ways taking on various forms. Websites, advertising, social media, promotional giveaways, video, animation…….the list goes on. We had to come up with a design that not only worked across all these mediums, but that continued to deliver the same consistent message irrespective of where it is seen.

Adaptability is a combination of many different factors that need to come together. If you can achieve all of these things from the outset, creating long-lasting ideas, then the branding campaign is off to very a good start. It lays solid foundations for the branding to mature and evolve over time. As the City grows, as will the brand.

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