Design studio The Click has refreshed the visual identity for Norwich Castle, with a new logo that “distils” the castle to a square with a crenelated edge, which also serves as a graphic device across the castle’s branding.
Norwich Castle is part-way through a £13 million revamp due to be completed at the end of 2024, which includes a medieval gallery designed in partnership with the British Museum, new digital and learning spaces, as well as an improved café, restaurant and retail offering.
The Click was invited to tender for the work in Q3 of 2021, explains creative director Bobby Burrage. As the previous branding had been in place for more than 20 years, the brief “was primarily about bringing things up to date”, he says.
“The client explained to us that this is the second largest transformation to the castle in its almost 1000-year history, therefore they needed an identity which would be flexible and robust for this new chapter”, he adds.
The Click design director Adam Ewels explains that the “understated and intentionally unembellished” logo at the heart of the new visual identity took inspiration from the cube-shaped form of the castle’s Norman Keep. The team felt that this was “instantly recognisable as well as being memorable”, Ewels says.
“To prove this point, we challenged members of the public to draw a picture of the castle purely from memory. We armed them with a pen and post-it note, giving them just ten seconds to complete the task”, he adds.
Guided by the results of the task, Ewels explains how The Click’s decision to remove “everything from the previous brand logo that wasn’t needed”, reduced its visual representation of the castle “to its simplest and most iconic form”.
While the old logo used an angled view of the castle, “the change of viewpoint in the core logo allowed for an infinitely flexible and modular design system”, Burrage adds.
This design system is “largely formed by squares, which in turn provide a simple, easy-to-use and coherent format for wider templates and applications”, Ewels says.
The shape of the core brand logo is also used as a framing device for photography or text. Its distinctive crenelated edge is also brought into play as a graphic divider for a wide range of physical and digital touchpoints, such as indicating the perforated line on entry tickets, or used in temporary signage for gallery closures or events.
According to Ewels its simplicity “provides endless opportunity for striking merchandise and bold production techniques”, the latter including t-shirts and tote bags.
The geometry of the core brand logo also “directly informs a unique nine-column grid system – referencing the number of merlons on each aspect of the castle”, Ewels says, which is used for other layouts, such as for exhibition posters.
Ewels adds that the brand typeface is Franklin Gothic URW, “a grotesque-style sans serif font with a contemporary aesthetic”. It is used in three weights of Book, Medium and Demi “to create hierarchy and differentiate information”.
According to Ewels, the new branding looks to “better support Norwich Castle’s ever-evolving digital offering – from their website, interactive exhibitions, social media and beyond”.
The new identity has started rolling out across limited channels, and will continue in a phased launch ahead of the castle’s full reopening in 2024.