North Finchley Creative Placemaking

This wide-ranging project celebrates the character of North Finchley through strategic guidance documents, new branding for the Town Centre and a website to promote local businesses and community organisations. Developed through engagement with local people, the work supports the revitalisation of the Town Centre by making it a great place to live, work and visit.

Creative process
Creative process
Creative process
Creative process

We were appointed by Barnet Council in 2022 to develop an overarching graphic identity and vision for wayfinding and culture in North Finchley Town Centre. This work was timed to coincide with wider redevelopment plans for the Town Centre and the need to safeguard North Finchley’s diverse and rich cultural history. By ensuring local engagement we wanted to build a stronger sense of participation and civic pride.

An easy to use poster format for the community to utilise

The Creative Placemaking Strategy aims to articulate North Finchley’s personality and uniqueness. We collaborated with graphic designer Stephen Barrett Studio who created the bespoke identity, and with Tim Jukes Design who delivered a website for the Town Centre. As well as developing a new graphic identity designed to promote the Town Centre and a new website launched to help connect people with local businesses, communicate what’s on and promote ways to get involved in the community, we produced a set of Visual Identity Guidelines document to support the implementation. From a delivery perspective, our challenge was to manage multiple workstreams to achieve a tight project deadline.

Community co-design and engagement under-pinned the project
Community co-design and engagement under-pinned the project
Community co-design and engagement under-pinned the project

The success of this project was reliant on working closely with the community of North Finchley. The creation of the graphic identity evolved in collaboration with local people through a series of engagement events, documentation exercises and co-design workshops organised by Stephen Barrett Studio and D-P-Q. Together we took participants through the sequential stages of the design process, from research and documentation of the area’s visual character to experiments with making letterforms. Underpinning the process were conversations with the public about what North Finchley Town Centre means to them and what should be celebrated with the visual identity.

Graphic Identity guidelines
Photography guidelines

The starting point for the visual identity was an exploration of the character and qualities of the town centre. North Finchley boasts an eclectic mix of architecture, with Art Deco buildings, Victorian cottages and Edwardian houses. It’s peppered with cultural assets, a multicultural market and community organisations. The challenge was to create an identity that retains the eclectic character of its diverse inspiration whilst also appearing as a cohesive collection of elements that help to bring unity to the Town Centre. We have achieved this with a suite of designed elements including a bespoke North Finchley font derived from an array of local inspiration, a graphic framing device derived from distinctive local roofscapes and a palette of colours inspired by the Art Deco tradition.

The North Finchley Town Centre website

As part of our aim to raise the profile of the Town Centre and better convey the multitude of business and activities that can be found in North Finchley we created a bespoke website – www.northfinchleytowncentre.co.uk – bringing together the elements of the visual identity.

The North Finchley website, designed and built by Tim Jukes Design in collaboration with Stephen Barrett Studio, allows visitors to explore what’s on in the town centre and browse the shops and amenities on offer. Built so that is easy for the community to contribute to and potentially manage, the site also includes an area for stories of local interest submitted by local community groups.

Finishing Touches
Natural Health
Silk Route
Elephant Inn

We managed the process of reaching-out to community groups and local businesses to submit listings to form a local directory and contribute stories to the website, as well as commissioning bespoke content. Our research told us that local people were incredibly proud of their community’s diversity and friendliness. As a result, we wanted to ensure that the people of North Finchley were at the heart of the visual communication we developed. Therefore we commissioned photographer William Clinton Ogbebor to photograph a series of business owners who make North Finchley what it is. The resulting photography helps to humanise the Town Centre, encouraging people into shops that they might otherwise not have ventured into.

Final Action Plan with bespoke graphic identity

The website continues to grow with new events and listings being added by the public. Designs for public realm improvements in the area are incorporating the graphic identity for the Town Centre and it’s also being applied to the documents being produced by consultants working in the area on behalf of Barnet Council.

This commission also encompassed a Wayfinding Action Plan and a Cultural Action Plan which can be seen by clicking on the links above.

North Finchley, London 2022-2023
Client: Barnet Council
Collaborators: Stephen Barrett Studio, Tim Jukes Design & William Clinton Ogbebor

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