London consultancy 20/20 is creating store environment and graphic communication designs for Early Learning Centre as the education-led toy retailer extends its reach into out-of-town retail parks.
ELC, which previously confined its operations to the high street, will roll out ten out-of-town outlets in the next 12-18 months.
20/20 was instructed to provide a radically different creative approach to the new sites, taking into account their larger size and distinct function.
‘Out-of-town retail is a completely different shopping experience to that of the high street,’ explains a spokeswoman for ELC. ‘They are much bigger sites and, because they are destination venues, customers go for a variety of different needs.’
Stores are divided into four play areas, enabling children and parents to sample ELC goods. 20/20 created a Play logo pre-fixed by Pretend, Sport, First or Venture according to the play area.
20/20 design director Paul Brotherton, who headed the project, says, ‘The whole store is built around play. We have also included quotes from child psychologists on why ELC put particular collections of toys together. It’s not worthy, but genuinely informative.’
The first outlets to receive the new creative treatment are at Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh, and The Fort Shopping Park, near Birmingham. The sites occupy 450m2 and 360m2 respectively.
20/20 was selected on the basis of work carried out last year on ELC’s new Welwyn Garden City store. The consultancy will also handle design for ELC’s next two out-of-town outlets, with the relationship likely to be ‘ongoing’.