Have you ever heard of Shrewsbury, the small medieval town between Liverpool and Birmingham ?

shrewsbury campaign

Wikipedia description says that Shrewsbury is a historic market town with the town centre having a largely unaltered medieval street plan. The town features over 660 historic listed buildings, including several examples of timber framing from the 15th and 16th century. Shrewsbury Castle, a red sandstone castle fortification, and Shrewsbury Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery, were founded in 1074 and 1083 respectively, by the Norman Earl of ShrewsburyRoger de Montgomery. The town hosts one of the oldest and largest horticultural events in the country, Shrewsbury Flower Show, and is known for its floral displays, having won various awards since the turn of the 21st century, including Britain in Bloom in 2006.

Today, lying 9 miles (14 km) east of the Welsh border, Shrewsbury serves as a cultural and commercial centre for the ceremonial county and a large area of mid-Wales, with retail output alone worth over £299 million per year. There are some light industry and distribution centres, such as Battlefield Enterprise Park, located mainly on the outskirts. The A5 and A49trunk roads cross near to the town, as do five railway lines at Shrewsbury railway station.

 How did they brand themselves as a touristic destination ?

According to fastcodesign.com, Shrewsbury doesn’t have one single, overriding thing it’s known for–like a music festival, or a market, for example. And that’s made it difficult to market the bustling, historic British village to potential homeowners and tourists. So, earlier this year, the town council appealed to &Smith and fellow Londonites We All Need Words for help. In response, the team devised an unusual visual identity that goes beyond the typical boilerplate logo-and-color-scheme branding package.

“Shrewsbury didn’t need a vision in a PowerPoint presentation,” explains Rob Mitchell, who runs the staunchly anti-bullshit We All Need Words with partner Molly Mackey. “It needed good ideas and practical things that everyone in the town could use.”

They came up with the concept of a customizable logo that every local business, from bike mechanics to bread bakers, could use. After slinging around ideas, they chose a slogan (“A Shrewsbury One-Off Since ______”) that focuses on authenticity–something Shrewsbury has in excess. The logo, printed on rubber stamps and stickers, gives shop owners the latitude to personalize the slogan to fit their wares. ”Since 5:15am” for a pastry chef,” or “Since 1552,” for the town’s castle visitor center.

The rest of the identity fell into place fairly easily. The designers picked out timber patterns on the town’s Tudor-style buildings and made them into typographic elements that mix with the Dalton Maag typeface Efra. In print ads, the bespoke typeface is overlaid on images of centuries-old vandalism on the town gates (“Graffiti”) or a shot of a bike shop (“Chainstore”).

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.