The Works Swindon

A place with a history of social progress
Swindon Heritage Action Zone
Type: Brand Identity, Placebrand
Date: 2021 - 2022

In early 2021, along with our longtime collaborators CTConsults, we won the contract to complete a place brand and visual identity for what was known at the time as Swindon Heritage Action Zone.

We designed an engagement strategy to capture public as well as stakeholder views and began our listening exercise. What we found was pride in a place with a history of building things from the ground up – for Brunel and Gooch this was a housing estate as well as an entire railway industry.

We heard stories emerging about a place with a history of social progress, with much-repeated rumours of the Railway Village (with its baths, medical centre, social support and community centre all located next to housing and workplace) being the original inspiration for the NHS – demonstrating that wellbeing, health and happiness was essential to a successful economy. It doesn’t matter whether the story is true because this area was still definitely part of pioneering a new approach to health and social care. 

Locals are proud of their place being one of the originators of social housing, proud of the history of building things and solving problems through design, engineering and ingenuity. This neighbourhood also had the first public lending library in the UK – for the betterment of the people at a time when education was a privilege of the wealthy.

You can read more about the story of this area on this blog page, and view the resulting place brand values below.

Once the values were defined, we moved onto co-designing a name for the area – The Works – and then bringing this to life with a visual identity that, just like the place, takes heritage inspiration and updates it with a truly future-facing feel.

The bold logomark can be seen as a statement of intent – asserting that this place is ambitious and productive. Individual letters can stretch or compress to evoke a sense of movement and adaptability – a flexibility and reactivity to reflect the skill and attitude of the site’s engineers who used creative problem solving to drive productivity and innovation.

The colour palette works to unify all areas of The Works site – bringing together the limestone of the Railway Village, the green of the outside spaces, brick of the warehouses, yellow lime to represent modern developments, the blue of water and steam and all underpinned by charcoal instead of a traditional black as the fuel for everything that’s happened here.

Layouts use layers of image, block colour and different typefaces to reflect the spirit of collaboration in The Works – where different pieces of the puzzle come together to form something that’s more than the sum of its parts. An emphasis on photography as a primary communication device puts a focus on the people and places that make The Works what it is.