We’ve locked down City & Country

Over the last year we have been involved in an exciting and innovative project with City & Country, the UK’s leading heritage developer, on the branding of three of the four former HMP prisons they have purchased: Portsmouth, Shepton Mallet and Dorchester. Each prison scheme consists of the restoration and conversion of the original prison as well as a new build element that sits within the grounds of the prison walls. Key to the designs is the implementation of high quality landscaping.

Due to their locations and their historical nature the schemes have been in the planning stage for the last year with some further delays caused by the discovery of areas of archaeological importance. Recently however Shepton Mallet, Dorchester and Portsmouth have received planning permission and we are currently working on developing the visual identity and we are excited to share some of our work in progress!

Each of the brand identities for the prisons is based on the same typographic styling and concept so that they sit together as a family under the banner of The Old Gaols. The core concept for each identity is a linear icon drawing that represents the architectural characteristics of each original building accompanied by the prison name and the date that it was built. Each icon is attributed its own distinctive colour palette that reflects the luxurious nature of the schemes and is split into more contemporary colours for the city location and more classic for the country locations.

Key to us winning the project was the core campaign we developed entitled ‘Expect the Unexpected’ which perfectly communicates the ethos of City & Country for many of their completed schemes and the uniqueness of this offer. Whether it’s the solidity and robustness of the original exterior stonework contrasting the refinement and attention to detail of the interiors or the previously enclosed walls being opened up to the public as new landscaped communal gardens, the schemes constantly reveal many surprises.

We won the work as part of a three way pitch last year and were particularly attracted to the unusual brief and the amazing work that City & Country do in taking on projects that most developers would shy away from due to the tricky nature of the sites and the challenges associated with them. We particularly liked the idea that they were saving these historic buildings from demolition for future generations to come and enjoy. As we have got to know their work, the bonus is their quality, attention to detail and the transformation that takes place with their involvement.