Ideas & Observations
The Creative Brief: Everything & Altogether
January 18, 2022
Everything and Altogether recently collaborated to deliver a project for the newly rebranded High Bridge Works. Mark Dawson, co-founder of Everything, and Sarah Tempest, co-founder of Altogether, discuss the creative brief
Tell us about Everything and Altogether?
Mark Dawson: Everything and Altogether are two of the North’s leading creative agencies – we also happen to work next door to each other!
Sarah Tempest: We both work with education, arts & culture and not-for profit organisations across the UK creating communications to inspire agency and motivate engagement. We’re multi-disciplinary experts in branding, campaign, digital and marketing.
Mark: Altogether are our friends, peers and sometimes our rivals! We admire their creative output and have enjoyed seeing their business grow alongside our own. There are also a lot of parallels in our ethos and approach; we’re both ethically driven, people focused and care deeply about the work we create.
What inspired the collaboration between the two firms?
Sarah: As Mark said, we are neighbouring studios; the building has been our home for several years and we are all passionate about the creative community based there.
Both of our agencies are brand communication specialists which heavily influenced our decision to collaborate. It felt like the perfect opportunity to merge skills and share ideas to create something we would all be proud of.
Mark: The inspiration to work together in collaboration was part curiosity and part common sense.
We thought it would be intriguing to see how we’d fit together creatively; we know we can all enjoy a beer together, but can we successfully deliver a high stakes commercial project? (So, at the very least we knew that it would be nothing if not an intriguing process).
The common sense part related to how clear a fit we both were for the project, regardless of if we were to collaborate. The requirements were well suited to our individual expertise and experience, but we shared a love of the location and community and are all driven to see it grow and flourish, so why not do it together?
What was the brief behind the new High Bridge Works brand?
Sarah: Our brief was to rename and rebrand the former BALTIC 39 building to draw out the distinctive qualities of the building and embody the creative community housed within.
It’s such a multi-layered space and a bit of a hidden gem. The studios in the building are home to a broad community of people and businesses working in the creative industries. A gallery space also sits on the top floor. Our challenge was to create a new identity that would appeal to both existing and potential studio holders, as well as a wider audience visiting the gallery.
Mark: The brief was a tricky one as BALTIC 39 was well loved and respected, as was the architecture and physicality of the building. It was our challenge to create something that paid homage to that while resisting nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. The building is as thriving as it’s ever been so we were keen to reflect that.
How did you draw on the industrial heritage of the building?
Sarah: The project began with intensive research to help influence the name and creative direction. We knew the building had an illustrious history from its blue plaque status but we were fascinated to learn of its multi-faceted past. Originally built in 1767, named High Bridge Works, it blazed a trail for innovation and creativity.
Visionary Newcastle inventor Lord Armstrong commissioned Henry Watson owner of High Bridge Works to produce the rotary engine that pioneered the use of hydroelectricity under its roof. In 1845 the space became Ward’s printers, continuing its creative legacy and was home to print works throughout the twentieth century.
We worked closely with the Building Co-ordinator who had a raft of knowledge about the building’s history as he leads the Heritage Open Days in the building. The whole project had a real buzz about it with those involved.
What journey did you take to develop the direction for the new brand?
Sarah: As mentioned, research was really important and exploring the history heavily influenced the naming themes. We were compelled to celebrate the heritage and High Bridge Works stood out as a name with true meaning and legacy.
Home to pioneering artists, inventors and entrepreneurs since 1767 was the positioning narrative we established, communicating the building’s past and reinforcing its status as a creative hub today.
High Bridge Works celebrates the rich history of the building and highlights the legacy of all the remarkable makers, creators and thinkers who have worked here over the past 254 years.
It was a real collaborative process with creatives from both agencies feeding into the ideas and shaping the identity between us. With so many creative minds on the project we covered a lot of ground at the ideas stage.
The final logotype uses contrasting typography, with the serif typeface nodding to the studios’ past life as a printing press combined with a san serif to represent the present day and current individuals and organisations who call High Bridge Works home. It has an eclectic, handcrafted style, taking inspiration from authentic heritage signage visible in the foyer walkway.
The whole journey to get to a final direction was based around generating ideas, iterating, adapting and challenging one another. There was no space for ego’s, this was a real exercise in working together to reach the right solution.
We worked the identity throughout the space, with a new way finding system woven through the building. A new website was developed to give more focus to the community within the spaces and to act as a platform to celebrate studio holders and their work, as well as promote vacant spaces to potential audiences.
Outdoor signage was also re-designed and a local sign painter is going to hand paint the external sign as we really want to celebrate regional creative and craft skills.
What legacy do you hope it will leave?
Mark: My desire is that this era of High Bridge Works residents will be held in as high regard as those who created and innovated there hundreds of years ago. The sheer breadth of talent within the building is amazing and is home to practitioners in architecture, fashion, film, art, technology and more.
And unfortunately, is an outlier in Newcastle city-centre currently given the closure of many of the centre’s affordable studio and office space in recent years, so it’s even more important we support and celebrate it
Sarah: I’d like to see it create more awareness around the building’s heritage and remind people that Newcastle has always been at the forefront of invention, innovation and the creative industries. The new name and identity celebrates this and cements it’s legacy once again. Importantly, we hope for more creatives to join the community and for others to enjoy and grow in the spaces.
Photography: David Wala
Graphical Images: Everything