Defining a unique brand vision for Coal Drops Yard

A creative brand vision that ‘stoked the fire’.

Once a place known for little more than its namesake station, King’s Cross is now one of the largest redevelopments in London complete with its own postcode - N1C. As the strategic brand design consultancy behind London’s newest mixed-used retail development, we were responsible for transforming this place into a creative shopping destination. Re-awakening its lost heritage, with an ambitious brand positioning and soulful brand identity design.

Unearthing the soul of CDY: key to our brand strategy and positioning was uncovering its rich past, like being a filming location for James Bond and Alexander McQueen’s fashion shows.

A soulful placemaking brand identity design.

As part of the redevelopment strategy and urban planning vision, we defined twelve distinct neighbourhoods that would sit within this new postcode - creating conceptual brand identity systems, strategic brand positionings and interior design codes for each.

One of these was Coal Drops Yard - a new landmark retail destination set inside the original coal drops that fueled the UK’s industrial revolution. We created its original retail identity design alongside distinctive brand assets and tone of voice guidelines that lived up to the energy of this new neighbourhood. Our team defined a creative brand expression and distinctive narrative that set it apart from other parts of London and helped the developers bring to life the unique value proposition of this shopping destination, for local and global retail brands.

The ‘hipster’ of retail developments: we were the lead global brand design consultants behind the cultural transformation and retail vision for Coal Drops Yard.

Bringing a visionary brand positioning to life.

The brand vision for Coal Drops Yard was to be no ordinary shopping destination. A place where art, commerce and culture come together. As well as developing the original placemaking brand identity design, we developed the customer experience strategy for the destination itself - defining what kind of retailers and hospitality brands belonged there.

In collaboration with our global retail design and interiors team, our brand design consultants created a tenant pack that was distributed to handpicked brands and retailers who were interested in the development. For brands that were approved, we created an inspiring retail design playbook that set out concept store guidelines to inspire new, localised and creative retail interior designs. This ensured that the integrity and vision of Coal Drops Yard shone through in each individual unit, whilst encouraging brands to create unique concept store designs that would make Coal Drops Yard a destination worth visiting.

From coal to cool: we re-imagined the placemaking brand identity design for this icon of the industrial age with renewed energy, making it into a retail destination for modern consumers.

Our vision for Coal Drops Yard was one that breathed life into a forgotten part of London. Far from just another place to shop, this is a destination that embodies a feeling of serendipity. Where art, culture and commerce combine.

Steven Ubsdell, Creative Director, Checkland Kindleysides

The place to be: the retail tenant pack showcased the unique brand vision and customer experience strategy of Coal Drops Yard as a place where art, commerce and culture come together.
A typeface that speaks London’s design language: our visionary brand identity design was inspired by the dynamism of a global transport hub with the creative prowess of the University of Arts London.

Turning placemaking brand identity into retail reality.

Putting our creative brand strategy into action, we then went on to work with some of London’s most forward thinking brands. We created a series of unique concept store designs and award winning retail stores for the likes of Joseph Cheaney, Face Gym and Jigsaw - all of which launched at the opening of this iconic retail destination. These stores set the tone for the retail identity design of this iconic shopping destination and went on to inspire other brands' retail concepts throughout the development.

Legacy meets entrepreneurialism: bringing together brands both old and new under one creative vision, ensured the integrity of Coal Drops Yard’s unique brand positioning.
An independent spirit: serendipity and discovery were at the heart of the brand strategy, championing global designers alongside up and coming brands.

Talk to us about placemaking branding design

If you are looking for a strategic brand design consultancy and retail interiors agency in London to lead your brand experience project, let’s talk. You can also check out some of our other brand identity designs and brand experience design projects on our work page, or take a look at our Wonder blog to spark your creative juices.

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