A new identity for Marple

Since initially tendering for this contract way back in April last year, we have developed (and rejected!) a number of designs for the logotype. A small sample of some of these are shown below. I am delighted that we have now brought this work to a conclusion and that it will be launching soon. I am also delighted with the outcome.

 

As part of this process, we ran a number of workshops with key stakeholders last year during the creation and development of the Marple logotype. Working with the stakeholders was essential – not only to initially clarify the brief, but also to engage them with the design process. After all, the stakeholders are the ‘brand stewards’ for the identity and are ultimately the people who will be using it. The feedback from the first workshop was as follows;

Visitors and attractions
More analysis and segmentation is required to identify target audience(s) and attributes, but it is clear that;
• Marple is a great destination for outdoor activity – primarily for walkers, cyclists and canal users and is popular with these audiences. It also has much to offer those interested in local history.
• It has a great selection of independent shops, a distinctive cinema, good restaurants and pubs.

History
• Marple can claim a number of ‘firsts’ and has a range of key archaeological and historical sites, though perhaps its most important aspect is the industrial legacy of Oldknow (primarily the Mill) and subsequent development of canals and railway which then shaped the town.

Visual identity
• In terms of identifying a route for the brand identity, a clear direction has been given – a number of exercises indicating that this should focus on the aqueduct and / or locks (canal) heritage. These options were explored and developed further – as shown below. As regards the strapline, the concept of an ‘historic canal town’ was also a key message.

Applications
• It was unanimous that signage and wayfinding would be the most beneficial application of the branding for the town. A further workshop / stakeholder engagement exercise may be necessary to identify key sites and how this can be taken forward.

 

The second workshop was held in late October and had a number of objectives. (Some photographs from this event are shown above). Primarily, this was to keep the stakeholders ‘up to date’ with the branding process;
• To inform and communicate the importance of the branding exercise and how Marple will benefit
• To present to the stakeholders a range of options for the Marple identity.
• To discuss the various aspects (good and bad) of each option.
• To select a final design.

The aqueduct
It was always a bit of a designers gift – the fact that the aqueduct is such a prominent structure in Marple – and also creates a natural ‘M.’ Marple aqueduct, also known as the Grand aqueduct, carries the lower level of the Peak Forest Canal across the River Goyt. Construction of the aqueduct was completed in 1800. The skilful use of architectural features, such as pierced spandrels and string courses, oval piers and stone of different type and colour have created a graceful structure.

Its position, amidst the wooded valley of the river Goyt at Marple, gives it a bold and romantic character. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.


The final design options

During the course of this project, we have created and worked though dozens of design ideas. For the second stakeholder workshop we distilled these down to three final design options, which are shown below. For the purpose of consistency, each logotype used the same colour palette (a dark blue representing water / canals and a green, indicative of Marple’s surrounding countryside). These designs were also shown on the same applications.

Option 3.0 is more pictorial and representative of Marple’s scenic location.

The feedback from the stakeholders was conclusive – with Option 1.0 being the outright winner. It’s simplicity, clean lines and visual strength being key attributes. However, a number of minor adjustments were made to the design and the strapline was changed to reflect Marple’s more rural aspect; ‘canals, mills, hills’ replacing ‘historic canal town’. The new logotype is a modern design, which also acknowledges Marple’s historical significance. The logotype features the Aqueduct which creates an ‘M’ for Marple and is integrated with the name. A narrow boat is also incorporated into this device. The design features the name Marple in a contemporary sans serif font. The ‘M’ has been specially drawn to reflect the architecture of the aqueduct.

 

Throughout the development of this project we are extremely grateful to Marple Town Team, led by Councillor Sue Ingham, Gillian Postill (Marple Civic Society), Councillor Craig Wright, Roger Nowell (Marple Business Forum) and also Cassie Mailgavanam from Stockport MBC. This group provided a clear steer and constructive feedback during an exhaustive and extensive design process.

Now that the identity has been created, we look forward to developing this across a range of applications – signage and wayfinding being the most important.

 

 

 

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