In a world of increasingly generic retail destinations, Camden Market has always been defined by its punk spirit. So we created an ‘unbrand’, as relevant to today’s Snapchat generation as it is to the market’s anarchic history.
Consumer research, brand strategy, visual and verbal identity.
D&AD Professional Awards 2017, Wood Pencil, Branding Scheme
Transform Awards Europe 2017, Gold, Best Place Brand
To stand out in a category defined by corporate conformity we needed to ‘Unfollow Convention’.
With over 10 million visitors a year, Camden Market is the fourth most popular visitor attraction in London. But its owners had bigger ideas. They asked us to define and create a brand that would re-energise the market, making it relevant to a new generation of millennials.
Research & strategy
We immersed ourselves in the market, speaking to over 100 different stakeholders. From stall-holders, residents, workers and tourists, right through to the CEO, they were united by a common enemy. Conformity.
Camden Market’s relentless commitment to originality and stubborn refusal to follow trends led us to a powerful brand idea: Unfollow Convention. A call to action as relevant to the Snapchat generation as it is to the market’s entrepreneurial heritage.
It was never about a logo. Instead, we set out to infuse the market’s irrepressible spirit across everything it touched.
Taking inspiration from the iconic Camden Lock sign nearby, we designed two bespoke typefaces: Camden Slab and Camden Sans. They give the market a distinctive voice, removing the need to plaster the logo everywhere. Each typeface has a range of weights, allowing the brand to speak to all sorts of audiences whilst remaining distinctively ‘Camden’.
Instead of a strict brand system, we created a set of tools to help people express the market’s tenacious spirit. A black and white colour palette to cut through the clutter. An unorthodox pattern made from the negative space in the typeface. And a brand frame to bring it all together.
Bringing it to life
We handed a brand toolkit over to the Camden Market internal creative team, challenging them to continue the market’s commitment to creativity: “If you’re not experimenting with our brand, pushing its boundaries, you’re not doing it right.” The signage on Chalk Farm Road, by street artist David Samuel, kicked off a series of creative collaborations as the brand started to come to life in and around the market.
The borough of Camden has long been intertwined with radical thinking. In the spirit of Punk’s use of ready-mades, Ragged Edge referenced John Bulley’s bridge painting and developed a family of bespoke fonts and graphic elements. This Camden Market Toolkit forms the underlying structure that gives us the ability to express the brand in multiple ways while still aligning with the Market’s long history of new ideas.