You may remember that 1000 Trades was crowned the winner of our Love Thy Website campaign last year, where we gave pubs across the UK the chance to win a free website, built by us on brew.web, our website-building platform.
As you might expect, the post-pandemic world proved to be one of our busiest times ever. As those working within the hospitality industry worked hard to bring customers back through their doors, so did we at Brew HQ. Along with the day-to-day grind, our team began thinking about how we would go about giving 1000 Trades the website design they needed and deserved in this new era.
Here’s a deep dive into the process of reimagining 1000 Trades’ Brand Identity and Visual Language, working our way through from initial information and visual explorations to Brand Application, where the designs bring the new brew.web website to life.
To kick things off, we send all our clients a briefing questionnaire, containing questions that help us understand the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of a project. The 1000 Trades website was no different, and Sam and John completed it with their usual wit and humor, giving us the personalised insights we needed to start creating their new design.
Collaborative Workshop Intel
During the first website strategy workshop session with the guys at 1000 Trades, we learned more about what they liked and didn’t like after showing them some visuals. For example, we learned that:
- They liked the idea of photography taking the lead vs words – the hunt for a photographer that could capture the quirks of 1000 Trades was on!
- They liked the idea of introducing colour, but weren’t sure which colours they’d like to add to their brand – challenge accepted!
- They loved their logo and didn’t plan on changing it, but the question was… how do we create an elevated digital look and still make it feel like 1000 Trades?
- Overall, the design needed to stand out and represent 1000 Trades’ personality and independent pub offering – with a few post-pandemic additions and changes.
The Style Board Creation
“A style board is a collection of brand assets such as colors, typography, photography, patterns, etc. that are combined together by a designer to build a visual aesthetic of a brand”
A style board was created based on the information that we’d gathered from the questionnaire, conversations with the 1000 Trades team, and independent research – something that was helped by the fact that we’ve frequented this very pub many times over the years.
Unpacking the Style Board
The brand discovery element included keywords and phrases taken from the questionnaire response and looked at strategic areas of the business, like the brand mission, unique selling proposition, business goals, and KPIs, such as:
- Increase table bookings
- Increased attendance for events
- Increased private bookings
- And, of course, increase profits
State of Play
An in-depth review of the current website was carried out to determine where they were at with their current website and to define our starting point. It was important to understand any elements that work well and any opportunities for improvement.
For those of you that know Birmingham, you know we’re not short of pubs. We profiled 1000 Trades’ main competitors, in terms of location and offering. What were they doing and how were they doing it?
We had a good look at the website’s audiences during the initial website workshop, so at the design session we did a quick recap on the target audiences.
Now, based on what we’d observed, and info gathered from the 1000 Trades guys so far, we knew that they liked woodchip and natural textures, which can be seen throughout the pub itself. Art and imagery also play a big part in the pub’s aesthetic, with walls dedicated to proudly displaying Brummie artists, often also sold to local admirers.
The squared shape of the logo, matched with its monochrome simplicity told us a lot, too. As the logo was here to stay, we wanted to find a way that we could integrate the square shapes into the design, as well as play with colour, as this was something they wanted to explore.
From here, we carried out visual research, with the brand discovery elements in mind. We looked at colour palettes that would reflect the adjectives that had been used by Sam and John when completing the questionnaire at the beginning of the project:
- Fun (but not eccentric)
- Understated setting (low key)
- Pique (excite/invite)
We looked for examples that we could take inspiration from in creating a new colour palette that embodied the above words and phrases.
We took everything mentioned so far and turned our attention to fonts. 1000 Trades has a very rich history, as seen by its name – taken from Birmingham’s title as the “city of 1000 Trades” – and the building has previously been a jewellery workshop and a badge factory, something they pay homage to with their badge wall. Birmingham’s culture and history is evident everywhere you turn.
The collection of fonts that were chosen embodied everything authentic that we garnered from 1000 Trades. In particular, Baskerville, a transitional serif font that is in-between “old-style” and “modern” seemed fitting as not only did it represent the deep-rooted history of 1000 Trades, but also the modernism of the building and brand today. Interestingly, the original creator, John Baskerville, was born down the road in Kidderminster and later moved to Birmingham where he created the font. It was meant to be.
Another font, Archivo, was selected to grab your attention! It came from the history of the building and its previous lives in the heart of the bustling craftmanship hub, the Jewellery Quarter. This was a way for 1000 Trades to show their confidence, but when paired with Baskerville, showcased an interesting visual parallel of bringing a historic building along for the ride of running a modern, independent pub.
Colours are so important when creating a website. They change how an audience feels when they interact with a brand or their website, and can even be linked to website efficiency, all things to consider when selecting a colour palette.
The cleanliness of the previous outputs was perceived to be missing a little colour and the rich yellows, tans, blues and greens that can be seen throughout the pub on chairs, on the walls, as well as the dark décor and the orange brickwork on the exterior of the building were all too hard to ignore. We wanted the website to be a digital version of what users see offline.
Our colour pallete was constructed from these direct onsite influences to create an independent, rich colour and a warm feeling. Subtle, muted, off-white neutrals are contrasted with bolder colours, with a flashy orange as a highlight or accent, to mirror the beautiful exterior.
We knew photography was going to be crucial for a brand like 1000 Trades. Photography is always a big deal as it can communicate a message or tone to customers in an instant, but for these guys, they wanted their photography to do the talking and lead the way in terms of showing their expertise – show more and say less, if you will.
We quickly had a vision in mind for the photography style; Quality shots that highlight the warm atmosphere, with nothing too clinical or generic. We needed shots that pulled the audience in and got them thinking about how good the food looks, and how they’re suddenly craving a pint, just from looking at the photos!
This is the type of photography that we needed and planned to deliver. Some examples were included within the stylescape, but the real challenge was finding a photographer to take on the task… And from looking at the photos, you can see that we found them.
The Visual Language Vision
We then went on to share our vision for the website’s design and all that it can encompass visually. It was a combination of everything that had been explored and uncovered before now. From the font to the colours and the layering of the assets, everything had meaning and a place on the site.
We even dove into creating custom iconography and graphic devices that could feature across the website to add personality and develop their online brand, taking inspiration from the square logo.
The guys at 1000 Trades were instant fans of these design elements, with a near 100% approval of this new visual direction. Thanks to our tried-and-tested process, it meant that we could move onto the next stages, all covered in our full 1000 Trades independent pub website case study.
- Website build
- Launch day