Brand for East of England looks to boost cultural tourism in region

Look Sideways, a brand designed by studio Spring to bring together cultural organisations in Norfolk and Suffolk, has secured further funding and will be rolling out more widely across the region.

Southwold-based studio Spring has designed a tourism brand and campaign for the East of England, which aims to highlight the region’s “exceptional cultural offering”.

Look Sideways: East was originally launched in 2015 as an Arts Council-funded project with the aim of encouraging tourists to visit Norfolk, Suffolk and surrounding areas for cultural events, and also encouraging businesses to set up there.

The project has now secured three years further funding, and will roll out a second phase starting in 2018, which will involve partner organisations including Felixstowe Book Festival and the Bury St Edmunds Festival taking over the branding project and using it advertise their events, as well as the launch of a Look Sideways: East official website.

The campaign looks to bring the region’s cultural businesses and events together as a “cluster”, says Erika Clegg, co-founder at Spring, adding that businesses in the area had become “fragmented” and “siloed”. The region currently has over 1,000 cultural businesses, employs 5,800 people and generates £84 million for the economy, according to Spring.

“The organisations have previously been really sophisticated in how they speak to their audiences,” she says. “This is about bringing them all together so people can look to the East of England and recognise there is a cluster of high quality cultural opportunities.”

She adds: “The East is a rural area; It’s not an urban hub like Northern industrial cities, but we want to highlight that it offers a good quality of life and accessibility from London.”

The branding consists of “East” written in an all-caps, sans-serif, bold, black custom font of typeface Novecento, with the strapline “Look Sideways” embedded within it.

The words Look Sideways were chosen as a “literal representation” of the East of England being visible when someone “looks sideways” from London, but also aims to represent the “edgy, unique spirit” of the region, says Clegg.

“Look Sideways is about this being an unusual place, that is offering something brave and sharp,” she adds.

The branding sits on the right hand side of communications to emphasise the “East” reference again, and has been coupled with a “bold and modern” colour palette, and photography and images taken from the partner cultural organisations.

“The branding deliberately steps to one side on the page, allowing the organisations to flourish,” Clegg says. “Our brand is not the umbrella brand, just the platform brand to help them grow their profile.”

Alongside the brand, Spring also designed the Cultural Calendar, a planning tool where different organisations can edit and share events with each other to encourage “collaboration” and enable them to “support each other”. It set up free workshops, which included training to use tools such as the Cultural Calendar, and digital and marketing masterclasses. The brand was kickstarted in 2015 with the Culture365 campaign, a website which showcased a different, regional cultural organisation every day for a year.

Look Sideways: East is a long-term, on-going project which has been running since 2015 and will continue to develop until 2020. The branding will continue to roll out across partner organisations’ online and print materials, and Spring is currently looking into developing a website.

Alongside Arts Council England, the project has been funded by local councils and organisations including Aldeburgh Music, DanceEast, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and SeaChange Arts.

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