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Whithorn branding, interpretation and digital

Category

Brand Identity, Digital, Interpretation

Date

Project

The Whithorn Trust required a rebrand of image and refocus their offering to a wider audience.

Working alongside the Whithorn Trust and producing some initial research it was apparent from the outset this was going to be quite a complex project that required a highly innovative and adaptable solution. The challenge was to create a brand identity that could represent a complete town of historical significance and also be relevant to today’s local community and its visitors.

Through its history, the town has gone through turbulant times, from the landing of St Ninian (C.4) to one of the first Christian settlements in Scotland (C.420), then under control by the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria (C.673), followed by Viking rule (C.920), Premonstratensian order (C.1124), an age of Pilgrimage (C1497), Protestant reformation (1560) to modern day, where the area is now largely based on farming and tourism.

One significant part of today’s Whithorn is the site excavations that are unearthing new information on the past and revealing the story of Whithorn.

With this challenge in hand a series of broad brush approaches were submitted to the Whithorn Trust. As the ideas developed we identified a map marker approach which could be used as a device to pinpoint the place, to use as a marker for dig sites, to show a historical trail. The marker approach allowed individual icons and symbols to be placed when refering to specific subjects. Finally through simply playing with the shapes and arranging their order the final motif fell into place, which takes on the appearance of a stained glass window or a flower head. The markers point to a focal centre – the town and the excavations. The individual “petals” are represented by symbols of; St Ninian’s Priory, Viking Sleipnir (8 legged horse – as appears on a coin found on the site), Bishop’s hat, Celtic Cross (appears on standing stones), Viking Helmet and Celtic rings.

Working with copywriter John Hudson, we devised a sub title ‘Timescape’ and John came up with the fantastic tagline ‘come close, see far’, which sounds like a personal invitation to experience a magical, yet authentic place. The brand identity has to work on several levels, where it gives an indication of it’s history, has academic relevance and also be inviting enough to attract families to find out more.

The brand identity typography is based on a modern sans serif font, with the “W” and “N” brought in from a different family font style which is customised. The overall effect gives a hint to Celtic and Viking forms. A secondary font, which is much looser, hand brush in style, is contemporary with a playful, less formal tone.

Design and concept:
Steve Kirkpatrick
© Weesleekit Ltd