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Branding for Scottish Borders Heritage

Tuesday 25 July 2017

The first stage of the project was to establish the structure and design of the branding for Scottish Borders Heritage

The first stage of the project was to establish the structure and design of the branding

Earlier this summer I was delighted to be successful in a competitive tender for a large branding and design project for a local heritage organisation.

For the last nine years the Borders Heritage Festival has been growing in size at an impressive rate – developing from a single weekend to a whole month. Building on the success of the festival, there are plans to develop a range of other activities to support local heritage.

The first stage of the project was the branding.

Structuring the brand

Before beginning any design work it was important to understand how all the various planned and possible future activities might fit together with the large festival in a brand structure which could accommodate their flagship festival, and allow for future growth.

After discussions with the client we agreed that a new ‘parent’ brand called ‘Scottish Borders Heritage’ would be created. All their activities (including the heritage festival) would fall under this brand with the visual identity cascading down. This would leave them plenty of room to develop a range of related activities in the future without needing to revisit the central branding.

Designing the logo

The inspiration for the logo design concept came from a comment made during the briefing session. The client pointed out that although we have a wealth of amazing heritage sites in the area, we are so familiar with them that we just don’t see them. This sparked the idea of ‘taking a closer look’ at what surrounds us, and using a detail as a base for the logo design.

The logo is based on tracery found at Melrose Abbey

The logo is based on tracery which was found at Melrose Abbey, but which is common to many local sites.

This approach had the added benefit of being an accurate match with the style of the Scottish Borders, rather than defaulting to something which might be considered to be more generically ‘Scottish’.

The shape needed to be simple enough to work as a logo, since it would be appearing at small sizes. The chosen shape is based on tracery which was found at Melrose Abbey, but which is common to many local sites making it a good representation of the whole area, rather than just one site.

The colour palette

For the colour palette I researched heritage colours, and adapted them to work across a range of media. The palette I created has five dark shades, and five lighter shades in order to allow the colours to be used flexibly. Further colours in the same vein could be added in future.

The brand palette comprises five dark shades, and five light shades, all based on heritage colours

The brand palette comprises five dark shades and five light shades, all based on heritage colours

I combined this simple graphic shape with the text in two alternate arrangements in order to make the design as flexible to use as possible. I also provided a version which featured the graphic on its own. This would be needed for social media, where the name appears alongside the icon, and so is not needed within the graphic itself.

Typographic specification

In order to allow the client to achieve consistency between the logo and their online and printed materials I specified two typefaces from Google Fonts – Rambla (which is used in the logo) and PT Serif which, with its relatively large x-height and narrow body, is well suited to presenting large amounts of running copy.

Both Rambla and PT Serif are available from Google Fonts. This would allow the client to maintain consistency throughout their materials

Both Rambla and PT Serif are available from Google Fonts. This would allow the client to maintain consistency throughout their materials.

The choice of PT Serif would be important because of the large amount of text it would be necessary to present in the promotional materials for the festival. But at this stage it was important to specify two typefaces which were readily accessible, and which worked well together.

Read about the second part of this design project in my blog post, Marketing materials for Scottish Borders Heritage Festival.

To chat about how I could help you with your branding, please send me a message.

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