Designing a place by the river called home
It’s in Nottingham
Making Nottingham thrive
It’s in Nottingham is the new name for Nottingham BID (Business Improvement District). With a mission to drive economic growth for Nottingham city centre – making it a better place for people to live, work, study and play – It’s in Nottingham is an independent organisation whose ultimate responsibility is to deliver value for its voting members.
With an old-hat corporate brand that wasn’t fit for purpose, and a consumer-facing brand that was too easily ignored, our job was to rebuild things from the ground up – establishing a new, ambitious presence that could flex to relate to multiple audiences while reflecting the attitude and energy of Nottingham itself.
As a Nottingham-based business, the task to reimagine and reinvent our city’s presence was both a meaningful and motivating brief. The result has culminated in a productive partnership that’s gone beyond just purely strategy and design to include rebuilding the brand’s digital infrastructure and ongoing brand guardianship.
It's in Nottingham is responsible for creating value for over 750 business members within Nottingham city centre.
We began by establishing a bold brand strategy – one that pushed the limits of the organisation to its edges, but had the potential to set it up for an exciting and ambitious future.
The brand idea – Thrive – sits at the heart of the new It’s in Nottingham brand and is supported by unique values that represent the positivity, vibrancy and originality of both the organisation and the city of Nottingham. Together, these principles inform and bring clarity to both the creative direction and behaviours of the new brand – serving as a lens to look through to guide decision making and bringing much-needed confidence and conviction across the board.
Attitude and character become key talking points throughout the project. We needed to bottle the spirit of Nottingham, but to create impact we had to avoid stereotypes and clichés.
Immersing ourselves in the city’s architecture – and getting under the skin of its history, heritage and rebellious attitude – we developed lines of thoughts that flipped what some might perceive as flaws into positive traits. It was time to embrace the fact that Nottingham is rough around the edges, perfectly imperfect and subversive in all the right ways.
The flexible identity system and supporting brand expression we created as a result plays on contrast, juxtaposition and irregularity but repurposes them as strengths – creating a patchwork of Nottingham that’s genuine, authentic and wholeheartedly representative of the city.
Designed to serve as a watermark for the city – a stamp of authentication – the simple identity allows the playfulness of the brand’s expression to do the heavy lifting. Contrasting typefaces and a broad colour palette – taking cues from the architecture of the city – capture modernity and professionalism in equal measure, while making it possible to dial up the volume of communications as required.
Telling individual stories is made possible through creative treatments that add playfulness and expression at the right times. And a toolkit of design ‘jewellery’, inspired by stripped back patterns from around the city, adds meaningful and thoughtful touches to applications.
The brand’s photography style needed to support the overall narrative of the brand and tell an authentic overall story. We commissioned local photographer Alice Ashley to capture documentary style images that shows not just the best of Nottingham off, but paints a picture of actual reality.
Honest, immediate and positive, the unstaged photography captures moments of city life in their purest form – creating an image bank that demonstrates the real Nottingham in all its glory.
To signify the step change in approach for the organisation, we designed and developed a new website that brought all of the personality of the new brand to the fore. Featuring dynamic touches that elevate the overall user experience – and a simple CMS system so the IiN team can have full control over its content – the site sets the creative benchmark for all rollout assets.
We’ve also supported the new brand with an extensive toolkit that includes social templates, updated literature and launch animations that provide context and background to the refresh for both consumers and members. We continue to support IiN with campaign work and other rollout materials as required – pushing things with creative consideration to ensure the brand remains the best it can possibly be, and continues to reflect the city it represents.
Our brief was to create a brand fit for the rebel city. One that was truly representative, could instil pride in the area and set up It’s in Nottingham for an exciting future. The fresh, modern design language – combined with a playful but considered tone – celebrates Nottingham’s unity, genuine fearlessness and belief that anything is possible.
Managing Director, Cubic