What to say about Thetford? This local resident put it best:
“I have always loved the castle mound and the park around it. To look out over the town at dusk. I love being able to walk down its green lanes, and along riverbanks with geese and ducks. Butten Island and Maharajah Duleep Singh. I love the decorations at Christmas, the trees put up over the shops, leaning out over the street. I love the bits of history, the pride of once being the sixth largest town in the country, the ‘maybe Boudicca lived here’, the statue of Thomas Paine and its claiming of a famous son. Murmurations late on a cold, winter’s afternoon. Friendly fish and chips. Walking and hearing a woodpecker.”
Of course it’s not all woodpeckers and Roman rumours, but Thetford does have plenty to be proud of. To get under the skin of what sets Thetford apart, we worked on an engagement programme with our longtime collaborators CTConsults that would help us reach all parts of the town.
We carried out 8 sector-specific workshops over the course of a few days to immerse ourselves in the stakeholder experience of the place, along with dozens of one on one consults. To make sure our digital survey would get the widest range of views possible, we translated it into four languages widely spoken locally – Portuguese, Lithuanian, Romanian and Polish. All in all we reached almost 2000 people.
The place brand values that emerged from our research and engagement described a place with really strong assets in heritage and the natural environment, where people liked to live because of the access to nature, ancient priory and attractive medieval buildings dotted around town. We heard about a place proud of its population diversity, and where people were keen to stand up and be part of positive change for their place. Strengths in tech and engineering represent a knowledgeable and skilled workforce, ready to play their role in growing UK industries.
Next we moved on to creating a visual identity that would help Thetford communicate itself with these new dimensions, moving beyond ‘historic market town’ to face the future. The design aims to represent the emerging advanced manufacturing sector and ambitions to be known as a modern manufacturing market town whilst balancing those ambitions with something that feels crafted and natural.
The colour palette reflects Thetford woodland and green outdoor spaces. Additional earthy colours mix with bright tones that celebrate Thetford´s ambitions and diversity.
We worked with an illustrator to create a series of custom icons and pictograms, drawn by hand, that feel organic and warm. They include images of local assets, people taking part in community activities, symbols of manufacturing and making.
“People are really impressed with the depth of conversation and the general direction of this work. A happy symptom of which is new connections being made locally and renewed interest in what’s possible in Thetford.”– Jack Weaver, Greater Thetford Partnership Manager