Designing a vibrant, rebellious identity to celebrate Lewisham becoming London Borough of Culture 2022, as well as building a new website ready for the launch in November 2021.
Working at in a team of three designers I worked across all parts of the campaign, from concept to creating various brand assets. I was also responsible for the creating the site architecture and high fidelity mockups for the website.
Developing the visual identity
The council had already done a lot of their own research as part of the bid for the London Borough of Culture including audience types, personas and themes that would flow throughout the year. They also had an existing brand, ‘I am Lewisham’, along with a visual identity that had been used for the bid. They wanted us to evolve that brand into something new whilst keeping the positive, authentic and rough-around-the edges feel of the current brand.
The key brand aims were:
Putting lewisham on the map, building reputation.
Increasing access to cultural activity – creating ways for people to have new experiences, visit new places, have new conversations, with new people.
Celebrating the borough for residents.
We built on this research by looking at what other cities of culture had done then kicked off with a brainstorming session in which we explored different routes and ideas. One of the ideas I suggested was to use a flag as the central brand imagery as this connoted a sense of celebration and pride, as well as literally ‘putting Lewisham on the map’. I considered how the flag could be used, whether placed around the borough for photoshoots, or held by groups of people, and how we could transfer this idea to a logo. The client loved the idea and this formed the basis of the brand identity.
THE BRAND IN ACTION
Animated flag logo
Icons for dashboard
Following the concept stage, I moved to working on the website side of the project, so I was less involved in the brand development. I was bought back in towards the end for the motion work, making this animated logo and the promo video that sits on the website homepage.
Influenced by the chunky typography I designed this set of icons they would use to measure the success of the year.
Illustrator file of vinyls
Vinyls in place
Lewisham Shopping Centre
Later on I got the chance to lead on the shop vinyls project which involved designing the signage for the clients shop in Lewisham Shopping Centre. It was a brand new challenge for me as I had never designed something on this scale before, and I had to liaise with both the client and the printing company to figure out how all of the components were going to work together. Luckily it all went smoothly and it was so satisfying to see it come together for the launch.
Designing the website
Alongside developing the branding we began planning the website. Having met with several groups of stakeholders as part of the branding exercise we had a good idea of what the client expected from the website. With a very tight design and build time it was decided early on that we should keep the number of templates to a minimum, with a core group being ready for the launch in November 2021, and the rest in January 2022.
The main aims of the website were:
To be a ‘shop front’ for Borough of Culture (BoC) 2022, telling stories through video and blog content and hosting destination information for visitors, such as travel info and suggested itineraries.
To showcase listings for events in their main programme, with user journeys that create accessible pathways through this.
To host wider cultural events happening in Lewisham during BoC 2022.
After setting out the structure of the site, we got to work on designing the site. We looked a few ways the brand could translate into a look and feel for the site and once that was settled with the client we started to roll out the designs. I was responsible for creating a high-fidelity prototype of the site in Adobe XD.
Whats on and user submitted events
The key purpose of the website is to let people know about the events that would be happening throughout the year.
Therefore the user experience surrounding the What’s On page and event filters was key. It was also important to consider the three distinct audiences that would be using this, Lewisham residents, Wider London Audiences and Domestic and International Tourists.
Initial plans included drop down filters for location, price, categories and area, as well as a calendar view. This seemed a bit over complicated for the user, so after some consideration I swapped the price dropdown for a checkbox as most users would simply want to know whether it was free or not. The calendar view also got changed to a month selector, as the budget did not allow for building a separate view.
Another consideration was how the users would filter between the events organised by the LBoC team and those submitted by members of the community. This was very important to the client as they felt there would be a big difference in the production value of these events. I experimented with different interface options before deciding a tabbed approach was most appropriate as this makes it clear to the user that the filters apply to events within that tab.
Showing event submission form on the left, and how the fields map onto the event posted on the site (live site screenshots)
We also needed to design a form that would allow users to submit their own events to the website. This form had to be easy to use for the user but more importantly manageable for the council team to moderate, as they would be manually reviewing the submitted events.
There was careful consideration given to each input field in an attempt to reduce errors or misunderstandings which would cause the event to be rejected. I also decided to build in a checklist the user must go through before they can see the form, which helped the council receive less incomplete submissions. Functionality wise, the form generates an event in the CMS using the fields we have set to map onto fields for our event template, the client can then review the post and decide whether to publish it or not.
A core group of templates went live in time for the launch announcement in November 21, then the full site launched in January 22.
We succeeded in delivering a responsive site that is fun and celebratory but also a highly functional event listing site. The site has had plenty of user submissions and the general feedback has been that people found it easy to get their event listed. By putting the core user groups at the centre of the design we were able to create a site that was fun and true to our branding yet easy to navigate.
The site is fully accessible as the client was keen to be as inclusive as possible, it meets AA standards but accessibility was also considered at every step of the design, for example avoiding text over images.