Branding for Nottingham Writers Studio
NOTTINGHAM WRITERS' STUDIO
Branding for an inclusive home for writers
Nottingham Writers' Studio
The Nottingham Writers' Studio is a place for people to come together and be the best writers they can be. An inclusive collective of like-minded individuals that are well known locally and within the national writing community.
NWS wanted to build a more engaging, accessible brand that felt more personal, inspirational and approachable to service users of all writing styles and abilities. It was felt that the current brand didn’t represent the open, friendly and welcoming sense of community that they offer.
Getting in touch with Abstrakt, we discussed the need for a consistent, cohesive brand that would work across all channels and represent the credible and progressive nature of the brand. A brand that would support the organisation’s ambition to create new ways of supporting writers.
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Never judge a book by its cover. Getting to grips with brand definition.
Initially, we sat down with the Nottingham Writers’ Studio team to get to grips with the community and understand how things worked and how the current brand was received internally and externally. We were fortunate enough to receive feedback from members of NWS, which gave us an insight into why they felt encouraged to join and how they feel about being a member now.
Working through objectives, offerings, and audiences, we started to move on to the brand definition and what NWS wanted to be recognised for. This gave us a clear understanding of their goal and what the brand and community meant to them, which we could evolve visually to represent their diversity, creativity and accessibility.
Alongside the meeting, we wanted to get an idea of the sorts of styles and brands that NWS are drawn to, and we created an inspiration board to discuss during the workshop. From this, we had a clear direction of what NWS did and didn’t like and were able to take these findings to the drawing board.
A big part of our process is establishing a creative playground that develops different concepts to present back to our clients. When it came to NWS, we designed two very different brands that were distinctly Nottingham Writers' Studio, drawing on everything we’d learnt and understood from the workshop.
When it came to the logo design, we created an effortlessly NWS mark to clearly represents what they stand for. The logo in its simplest form depicts an open book that illustrates their open community. Whilst they didn’t want to appear inaccessible to writers outside of Nottingham, the book’s spine also represents a pin that signifies a pin on the map for Nottingham and a nod to new experiences like opening your favourite novel for the first time. We’ve created the logo so it can grow and evolve with different text and messages.
Inspired by events like Birmingham and London Design Festival, for their bold and standout branding with limited colour palettes and impactful typography, we developed a concept that used black and white to contrast with flourishes of colour.
Red is the primary brand accent; the brand is designed to empower NWS to add additional colour alongside black and white depending on the season, campaign or special events. There’s the creative freedom to choose any shade on the spectrum, keeping the palette limited to black, white, and primary colours.
Abstrakt and Nottingham Writers’ Studio loved the brave and effective fonts used at festivals in terms of typography. Alongside the limited palette, it feels inclusive and a call to arms to anyone wishing to join a like-minded, diverse and inviting community. We used Dharma Gothic with its retro-looking and nostalgic glyphs that make an impact.
The process of working with Abstrakt was exactly what we'd hoped it would to rebrand our organisation. They consulted with us closely to refine our intentions, and the final product has given the Nottingham Writers' Studio a much needed modernisation that is vibrant and fresh, while maintaining a mass appeal.
We cannot thank them enough for all their hard work in collaborating with us to bring out the best in our vision and make it a reality!
Thom Seddon - Operations & Development Manager - Nottingham Writers' Studio