the chase creative consultants

Woolwich Works
Royal Borough of Greenwich

The Royal Borough of Greenwich appointed The Chase to create the naming, branding and narrative interpretation for the new Woolwich Creative District.

It was a great opportunity for us as we quickly realised that the client team needed something highly creative yet relevant for their vision. Creativity is at the heart of everything we do so being asked to develop a brand for such a prestigious cultural destination was a genuine honour, particularly as we needed to respect the history of the site, the former Royal Arsenal.

Naming

Naming the site was a fairly substantial undertaking as we had to develop a hierarchy which supported the overall vision, were memorable, and conveyed a coherent family group. The task included an overall trading name, the five site buildings, key performance venues, event space names, studio names and service room names.

The council’s only stipulation was that ‘Woolwich’ had to be a part of the overall trading name. Woolwich Works was short-listed from an original list of 50 or more suggestions. It was chosen because it alluded to the site’s manufacturing heritage whilst relevant for a modern cultural venue. The alliteration also became an integral part of the visual identity. For the 5 listed buildings we adopted a similar approach, keeping true to the purpose of the original buildings use whilst being appropriate for a modern cultural venue. The Fireworks Factory, The Academy, The Carriage works, The Laboratory and The Cartridge Factory were the final choice.

The Brand Identity

During our research we uncovered that a part of the Royal Artillery insignia was a chevron or zig zag. This was believed to be connected to Saint Barbara, the patroness of the artillerymen, as she was connected with protection against lightening and later explosions. The chevron is also found to indicate rank of course. We also found that the chevron pattern has been used in many cultures across the world as early as the Egyptian period and possibly earlier.

With that in mind we developed a brand device that was universal in every sense and had connections with the Arsenal. We liked the idea of the Woolwich Works initial characters creating the brand device.

Colour

The role of colour is an important one and in this case we felt it had to express the creative nature of the new district, convey accessibility and welcome, have stand out in the sector, relate to the site, aid navigation for visitors within a signage system and complement any supplied and new imagery for marketing communications.

The inspiration for the colour palette came from the historical, geographical and cultural connections of the site. We wanted a vibrant attractive colour palette to contrast with the austere red brick interiors of the buildings. The ‘major’ palette as we called it contained the Navy blue and Red from the Royal Artillery uniforms supported by a range of ‘minor’ colours including a metallic bronze which was inspired by the materials used to manufacture ordnance.

Typography

The role of the typeface for an identity such as this makes the decision all the more important given it has to express the creative nature of the district, whilst creating stand out in a crowded sector. It also had to be accessible and warm. The adaptation to different languages was also another key factor in the decision given the varied demographic of Woolwich. It had to work on screen and in print and aid legibility for signage. Again, we wanted a rational for the choice and based on our research we found that stencil fonts were used extensively particularly during the war years around the site.

The type family chosen for Woolwich Works was Cera Pro. Cera Pro is considered a contemporary geometric typeface and brings simplicity, elegance and a certain warmth. Cera Pro’s six weights, thin to black, give it a full range of expression for interfaces and corporate design; in print, on screen and in multiple languages. It supports around 150 languages and offers a stencilled version which is used as the primary font.

Selling the Spaces

Without having access to shoot on site due to ongoing renovations, our creative brief was to demonstrate how the spaces would be used. Our approach was to take existing footage of the buildings and overlay imagery of performers and artists acting within the spaces.