On 15th September, Piano House in Brixton was the setting for an unusual creative event that’s never been tried in quite the same way before!
Brixton Reuse Centre was lucky enough to bag a day of time from the team of a dozen graphic designers and other creatives who are responsible for the witty, playful style of Innocent Drinks. This was organised thanks to an innovative project called Good for Nothing, who make connections between creative professionals looking to do some “good for nothing” (i.e. free!), and organisations who can benefit from their skills.
I’d heard about the great atmosphere and results generated by Good for Nothing’s previous turbo-charged creative blitzes and thought BRC’s branding could do with a bit of that, so contacted them to ask if they could help us.
We were delighted to hear they had got the Innocent team on board! This was slightly different from Good for Nothing’s usual format, where they bring together a large group of creatives from lots of different companies for a 48-hour challenge. We had only 8 hours – but with a team who already know each other and work together daily, perhaps making the process a bit smoother.
We owe a big thanks to all involved – it was fantastic to watch so many creative ideas emerging in such a short space of time.
Being given this opportunity prompted us to reconsider BRC’s name. We realised that, with only one day to develop the visual brand, the designers needed to be given the right name to work with! So a couple of days beforehand, the BRC steering group met for a lively debate about re-naming ourselves.
The name Brixton Reuse Centre has been a good “working title” – attracting people to the project who are interested in reuse and see themselves as local to Brixton. But there were some important arguments for choosing a different name:
What if we want to replicate the BRC model in other places? This won’t work if Brixton is a key part of the name! We want a name that can be used with different locations.
The name “Reuse Centre” is used for lots of other reuse projects that aren’t like BRC. What is unique about us is the co-operative structure and co-working space – several reuse organisations and projects under one roof. There’s also an emphasis on repairing and remaking things, not just reusing them as they are. We want a name that reflects those things.
Are we really in Brixton anyway? Some residents see the site as closer to Camberwell. Maybe Brixton should be less emphasised in the name.
We came up with a “long list” (yep, a really long list – which will remain secret!) of name options, but in the end we managed to narrow it down to two: Remakery, or Remade in Brixton.
Remade in Brixton has been used for 3 years as the name of Transition Town Brixton’s working group on waste prevention, www.remadeinbrixton.org. But BRC has now become Remade in Brixton’s main project, so it could make sense to merge the two “brands”.
Then again, the point was made that Remade in Brixton might work well as a “label” on products… On the other hand if you are talking about the working space, Remakery fits better. Bakers work in a bakery, remakers work in a Remakery!
So, Remakery stuck and the designers focused on developing a visual identity around that name.
Above: Checking out other logos, colour books, and the architects’ research… Debating and sketching… Presenting Round 1!
The first part of the day was quite competitive – with 3 teams working rapidly to generate a variety of early options. Everyone voted with ticks for their favourite concepts, resulting in 3 winners and the teams re-arranged to take those ideas forward.
So by the time the BRC (or Remakery!) Steering Group arrived at lunchtime, 3 different design directions had been developed for us to vote on:
Stencil Shapes – a pick’n’mix of shapes that can be formed into letters and pictures, sort of like “remade” objects being put together into something new.
Chaos to Order – a squiggle or scribble, drawn out into a decisive straight line!
Lots of Dots – dots clustering together to form letters or shapes, evoking both the materials and the community gathering together at the Remakery.
Above: sketches and the different teams presenting their ideas to us; a well earned pizza break!
We voted again and elected the Dots!
Several further variations on the theme were generated, and the group split again into Logo, Web, and Interior teams who all presented their outputs at the end of the day.
Above: dots in development; the last minute rush; illustrator Pam Williams sketches the designers at work.
Above: final presentations of the logo, interior colours, and web layouts.
I was very happy with the logo, which expresses what the Remakery is about in a simple, spot-on way. Dots gravitate in at one end, like the materials being drawn into the Remakery… then they radiate out at the other end, like the transformed final products going out into the world! It also feels a bit like a community coming together to make something bigger than the sum of its parts.
There might be a few tweaks to the logo as it stands… possibly making the ends more rounded rather than bracket-shaped… Watch this space and we’ll unveil the final version soon!
The proposed use of dots and colours in the interior space was very effective and versatile and will integrate well with the architects’ designs. The web layout work was also great – some really clear thinking about what is needed for the website to showcase the Remakery and its member companies effectively.
Much appreciation to the Innocent team for their hard work and sensitive approach to interpreting the brand. It was a great opportunity for us to have such a big team of professionals giving us a full day of their attention and we are really chuffed with the results.