Helping Croydon celebrate its heritage

By Tom,

July 2015

For many years, we have worked closely with the Whitgift Foundation helping them develop brands and communicate their stories—they're a client that I particularly enjoy working with. The Croydon based organisation is over 400 years old and with that comes a wealth of history and tradition. Whitgift are a great example of a brand that is hugely proud of it’s past, whilst embracing the modern technologies of the future.
Croydon Heratage Festival branding

They recently asked us to get involved with a project that they fund and organise; the Croydon Heritage Festival. This is an annual event where the local community come together to celebrate everything that is great about their hometown. The festival is held over an entire week and welcomes anyone and everyone. Events include anything from an exhibition on Croydon Airport Society to Tudor Dancing, and are held in interesting venues such as town halls, local parks and mosques.

The festival had an existing brand and style from previous years, so there was a logo in place that the people of Croydon instantly recognised. Therefore it wasn’t our job to come up with a new identity, instead our aim was to evolve the brand style to help give the festival a fresh look and feel for this years event. The style and tone had to be consistent and engage a wide audience from school children to war veterans.

Illustrations of Henry VIII, Darth Vader and Ronnie Corbit

This year’s festival celebrated the famous places and faces of Croydon, focussing on the past, present and future. After reading through the content, it was clear that Croydon had plenty to celebrate with famous residents such as Henry VIII and Darth Vader (the actor, not the real Darth Vader). This lead to one very interesting illustration brief of drawing up several of Croydon’s celebrities into a montage.

Now, I’m pretty sure nobody has ever worked Darth Vader and Ronnie Corbett into the same illustration until now. Admittedly, it looked very random but I assure you, in context it made perfect sense.
More character illustrations

We introduced a friendly, hand-drawn illustration style that complimented the existing brand and appealed to the target audience. Using this style, we went on to illustrate many other features including more celebrities and several of Croydon’s famous buildings. One building was particularly mind boggling and challenging to draw, it’s known as the “50 pence” building. I drew it three times and still didn’t understand how it was constructed.

Famous buildings in Croydon illustration

These buildings were used to help form a walking map. The walking map was designed to be handed out to people visiting the festival, so that they could walk the streets and through the parks, learning all about their surroundings.

We designed all kinds of documents in the new design style, such as the official event programme, advertisements, a stage backdrop and the walking map, amongst other things. It was really great watching everything come together through social media and photographs from the client themselves.

Range of design concepts

The event took place just over a month ago now and the feedback has been extremely positive from visitors and the organisers. People were engaged by the events and shows on offer and many shared their experiences on social media.

"As one of London’s largest boroughs, thousands of people attend Croydon Heritage Festival to explore and celebrate its rich, vibrant and often overlooked history and heritage. The branding and materials are crucial in appealing to a diverse audience and Toward’s use of hand drawn illustrations and bold design style really brought the programme to life in a fun and quirky way. Not long after materials were distributed, programme booklets were flying off the shelves, the walking map was the talk of the local Facebook community and the distinctive branding started to pop up everywhere across the town. Toward’s work definitely contributed to the success of this year’s festival which exceeded all expectations!"

Catherine Shirley
Head of Marketing and Communications
The Whitgift Foundation