Charnwood Borough Council sought to promote the unique landscape, character and wealth of attractions within the borough. The aim was to the entice the residents of Charnwood and visitors to explore what the area had to offer, so generating an increase in local footfall and business opportunities. The theme and focus of ’Discover Charnwood’ was to be applied across several sub-categories including; ’Outdoors, Heritage, Business, Shopping, Accommodation, Sport & Leisure and the Sciences.
Crayfish Design were asked to create the logo and overall brand for ‘Discover Charnwood’, and to provide design assets for other partners to showcase the campaign through video, a bespoke website and heritage guide.
In addition to this, the brand was to be applied across various media including the Tourist Information Points (TIPs), a range of posters and banners for footfall locations, along with templates for social media posts for promotion activities.
Charnwood is a diverse area with unique geological features and natural character – from the precambrian rocks it has a history of quarry work and the first recorded discovery of the Charnia fossil – an early sea based life-form that lived nearly 600 million years ago. Together with several woodland areas, it provides a rich tapestry of historical locations and rugged environment for locals and visitors to explore.
In addition, aspects of human inspiration and endeavour combine to further add multiplicity to Charnwood’s story; such as diverse heritage, expanding business developments, scientific research, advanced technological prowess, through to an internationally renown sport and high education regard. It is these developments that will shape the future and understanding of Charnwood. It is important therefore, that the brand also has an openness and forward looking approach, that is adaptable and open to discovery.
- Logo design and branding
- Poster design
- Photography and video
- Social media templates
Concept and understanding
To capture an element the represented Charnwood in the logo design was imperative – however, it needed to be not too specific to any particular location that it might give favour towards some attractions over others.
In addition, consideration over clarity and legibility lent towards an approach that would employ a simple and concise form. A logo that was easy to identify at a distance and so have clear application in the environment, would also help it to work across a wide range of media and to those of smaller scale.
Additionally, the diversity of the categories and use of photography associated with the brand would also navigate towards the application of a simple generic form as the main motif.
With so many unique factors to consider and places to promote, we decided to explore how we could best reflect the essence of the local landscape, the contours and characteristics found within Charnwood. Furthermore, we identified options that would be conducive for referencing other avenues and future associations. From this we concluded that the task was to find a system for communication, a vehicle with a single overarching identifier as the primary logo rather than a depiction of a specific location and then to use supporting elements to distinguish individual categories.
The selected concept utilised a logo design with the Charnia fossil as its main visual representation. It gave it a unique and almost timeless reference, which also had worldwide acclaim and by itself had a story of discovery to tell. Discovered in the 1950’s by local children the fossil had a simple organic form with a flowing segmented shape, similar to that of a feather or stemmed plant. However, by itself the fossil had a tall and thin shape, not too fitting for a logo design!
Our solution was to capture the identifiable feature that made the fossil or category instantly recognisable, an exploration of which gave rise to the focal mark approach.
The design exhibited both a contemporary and classic format built on the structural characteristics and repeating pattern formed by the segments. With an asymmetrical arrangement, the two halves balance each other, forming what looks like a river meandering through the landscapes – a reference to the Soar Valley itself. Composed within a circle, the symbol acts as spotlight or focal mark.
The close-up adds to the search and sense of discovery and was a format that was replicated across each of the categories with simple line based icons that could be used as destination identifiers. The minimal line aesthetic has then been extended throughout the supporting category icon set. These icons were also kept simple, abstracted and asymmetrical to complement the overall look and feel.
The Discover ‘Charnwood’ typography was likewise adapted to focus on each of the specific sectors and used as part of a family of logos.
In addition to the logo design, we created a theme for the campaign as a whole, which led to a functional set of brand guidelines to provide style guide.
This was then applied across a range of promotional materials including; various signage requirements, posters etc. plus digital formats for website and social media use.
The social media templates allowed the client to quickly create and compose images for posting.
The campaign was supported with a range of video and photographs that were initially created for the Our Charnwood campaign.
What the client said:
“The Council was seeking to create a destination brand for Charnwood that brought the borough’s fascinating story to life and we needed an identity that spoke both to the borough’s natural assets and also its industrial heritage while having a hint of its cutting edge future. Thanks to Crayfish, we feel the final branding chosen for Discover Charnwood has captured the essence of the borough and connected to all of those points. The branding has been used across print and digital assets with everything from the website and social media and to lamppost banners and leaflets.
Discover Charnwood won the best marketing campaign in the Leicestershire Promotions Tourism and Hospitality Awards 2022 following its launch in March 2022 and the branding was a key element of this. Our thanks go to Crayfish for an excellent piece of work.”