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Guest blog: Researching and developing a brand for Nottingham

Pre-brand campaign image only Copyright Gill Williamson

For the last 20 months I’ve been doing postgraduate research into branding and identity at Nottingham Trent University. I’ve constructed my project with a focus on the economic, cultural and social impacts of the phenomenon of place branding, with the aim of developing a brand for Nottingham – so I hope you’ll find this an interesting article!

We all know about brands in the world of business, retail, sport and even celebrity. We have those we like and dislike, but how does branding work for a place? Something that comprises so many elements – cultures, history, and functions, business, personalities etc – the list goes on…Surely this is mission impossible!

More cities, regions and nations are developing place brands, to promote their uniqueness, strengths and competitive offers in a changing global economy. Nottingham too, has already tried this. (With the ‘wobbly N’…)

I’ve studied what the experts say and I’ve talked to brand developers and clients in cities including Nottingham, Glasgow and Belfast, tourism experts from places like Malta and interviewed or surveyed almost 200 people. I’ve looked at what makes Nottingham strong – and where we undersell ourselves.

Nottingham has a strong competitive identity, for example it has:

  • A strong cultural and arts scene
  • Growing creative industries
  • A credible science offer (with Science City status)
  • A sporting heritage – and a sporting future!
  • A great history of invention and innovation
  • Two great universities, which attract students from around the world.

My project brand is based on the fictitious (and non-political) ‘Republic of Nottingham’ – an idea based on these strengths – and a concept to galvanise the people of this place. My project brand will do this through ‘A Creative Revolution’!

We’re creative – in thought and actions. We’re inspirational. We’re connected. And we’re resilient. So, this is a city we CAN believe in.

I’ve developed my brand concepts based on this analysis of our great city. Of course, there’s far more to a brand than just the logo, but what I’m presenting to you at this stage are a series of logo concepts that will support the wider brand which I am now developing.

So now – over to you. What does the creative community of Nottingham think?

The feedback you provide will help refine the concept, and will feature in my next article.

Please follow the link and ‘vote’ for the logo you prefer:

Here’s more background about me as Creative Nottingham’s first guest blogger.