Brand Direction | Client Management |
Hi, I’m Charlie Salter and I’m a designer! But under this umbrella, I’m also a people-focused problem solver. I place huge importance on listening to a client’s wants and needs, and responding appropriately to reach their audience. With my previous experience, I understand the importance placed on meticulous design and genuine client care.
Although I create, I also listen! Within this degree, I have found fulfilment and satisfaction in teaming up with two groups of 1st year design students to help them forecast their projects to meet their deadlines. This has included forecasting, gaining a deep understanding of the clients wants and needs from the off, managing of the process and monitoring the project’s momentum, and helping the project come to a successful and well-earned hand over. By helping these groups, I have enjoyed being the facilitator of these projects running smoothly and feel as though I would thrive in an account handling position.
Hometowns are a very special place for everybody. Whether you love them or hate them, it’s the place you grew up and the place you call home. So when it came to choosing my final project, I felt I had a lot to give back to the little place “about an hour and a bit from London” that nobody has ever heard of. Town centres are facing reconfiguration for the first time since the 1920’s on a major scale, and these once retail-dominated high streets are losing their purpose. This was the case for Bordon, who’s military roots had been uplifted after the army vacated the area. The problem of purposeless towns is repeating, and a design-led rebellion against what was once was my mindset and solution for this project which I thoroughly enjoyed exploring
Retail has been at the heart of British town centres for hundreds of years, from small independent business to large franchises and chains, in turn serving generations of consumers and communities as and when needed. Town centres now contain 650,000 fewer shops than they did in 1920, so what does this mean for town centres and consumer experience that was once solely built around shopping?
The Coronavirus Pandemic has sped up the decline of the grey and lifeless high street, but this could be the momentum needed to fuel a design-led regeneration for a new audience of consumers. Town centres need a strategic shift to ensure a sustainable position in the consumer journey.
Celebrating and drawing inspiration from the history of Bordon, the outcome commemorates the strong history in the military from the 1900s onwards. Artifacts found in the local area have become centre points for design campaigns and physical design and wayfinding, like 6ft toy soldiers holding arrows pointing the audience in the right direction. The style is traditional and dignified, visualising a message for communication of “quiet pride”.
Bordon was left without purpose after the army vacated the area in the 2010s. Rather than sink in nostalgia, this outcome encourages a dive into the past through inspiration-led designs and ideas. Through surveys with residents of the town, the pride that the patrons have towards Bordon is unquestionable. Many residents have lived in the town for many years, enjoying the friendliness and green spaces of the area. The outcome serves as an example that the past can be a positive focal point within designing and re-branding a site.
Samantha Prothero has lived in the town for just under forty years, so I asked her to write a poem about the town she was born and raised to capture the essence of what I was trying to visualise. Her poetry has been used in the outcomes that will be displayed around the town as a shared thought amongst residents of quiet pride and a reminder of what came before.
In a town where the original purpose is no longer the current purpose, residents and key players in decision-making areas struggle to see where the place is going. On the other hand, these same people have been gifted an opportunity to re-market the area to suit current consumer wants and needs and grasp residents’ feelings and thoughts about what they think would make a thriving home town for tourists and locals alike.
My idea of re-branding Bordon not as a place consumed by the shell of what it was but as a place that is proud of its history and exploiting this factor to stimulate local pride. The army has touched many residents lives in the town in one way or another, and I think it would be foolish to ignore this. From this, it is not unfair to assume once self-regard is generated within the area amongst locals, the opinions of others will re-adjust and solve the problem of a declining high street.
Initially, interest will start once branding and signage is introduced, the first stepping stone in re-aligning opinions on the area. The investment will be encouraged through consumers actively taking an interest in the region through pathways and Bordons natural spaces and activities like the Craft Market and past-time app. From this, the belt of positive thought will extend outwardly to surrounding areas meaning Bordon will become a visitor site. Visitors and tourists will kick-start investment of hospitality and business, meaning the branding and areas of supporting design can grow alongside.
The research investigation of building a foundation for creating this outcome found that many towns face decline because they hold onto the original purpose of the town; in most if not all cases, that was retail. However, changing consumer habits mean that the high street needs a strategic shift to stay relevant and valuable in the eyes of the consumer, investors and residents alike. In terms of market positioning, Bordon will harvest the success of the original purpose but shed all unsustainable and no longer relevant factors to gain the interest of a new consumer audience. Through branding and communication, the audience feels as though Bordon is changing with the times whilst still paying respect to the former. Once interest amongst this first group is shared, the ripple effect will mean its opinion with the audience will grow, thus creating a popular place to visit, spend and live.