Re-branding Sheffield

So, from designing a simple product, to designing a whole city. Things move real fast huh?


This project is aimed at the re-branding of Sheffield, away from the steel industry to a more contemporary view of the city, incorporating it’s newer features.

So, using my basic research from The Steel Tree project, I began looking further into Sheffield’s culture, history and more importantly, what Sheffield does now.

From personal experience, I’m aware that Sheffield has an inordinate number of design companies, ranging from games companies – such as Sumo Digital – to Digital design companies – such as Rocket studios. What’s more is that Sheffield has begun a recent recruitment drive for designers, plucking some from London to Sheffield, as a more centralised location for the UK.

Another thing to note, is the pride that “Sheffielders” possess for the White Rose, and their recognition of being a part of Yorkshire, which may be helpful when designing a flag for the city. Especially when combined with the other ideas that the city stems from – such as steel and woodand, as mentioned in the Steel Tree Project.


This conceptual thought came as part of a small spider gram that I made to brainstorm basic ideas:


So I had a thought.

Why not combine my ideas?

To completely forget Sheffield’s heritage when it is so deeply engrained within the population here would be counterproductive, alienating and a backwards way of thinking, so I thought about how I could merge both old and new to compromise both parties.

My idea was to include a small steel rose on a flag, with a trio of points running off of it, representing Sheffield as a Creative hub, a Green city and how it functions as a beacon of The North.

Next, depending on how these parts are organised, it could also represent numerous ideas (Read: Colour and Shape Theory) such as if the points were organised like the X and Y of a graph, with the third point in between, pointing up at 45*. This indicates a rising pattern.

I tried to draw further inspiration from examining other flags of The North.


Here is the flag of West Riding – with it’s various embellishments all explained in detail here, but I will explain it briefly here:

  • The White Rose represents the House Yorkshire.
  • The Cross represents the Scandinavian History of the area, presented in English Colours.

Interestingly, while searching for these flags, I noticed that while googling the flag of South Yorkshire – the location of Sheffield – a strangely large amount of Socialist Flags appeared. After further research, I discovered that Sheffield once had a powerful socialist movement, localised to just the city – and still holds it’s leaning with the ‘PRSY’ – which may be interesting to consider, if nothing else.

Here is the flag of South Yorkshire:


It’s updated, trendy and in personal opinion, tacky looking. The SY relating to South Yorkshire and the Rose again, referring to Yorkshire as a whole.

However, this flag is entirely fictional, and South Yorkshire doesn’t have a flag


East Yorkshire:


The flag features a Yorkshire white rose -flipped – set against a bi-colour of blue – representing the sea  and the maritime activities of the East Riding – and green – symbolising the locality’s rich agricultural land.
North Yorkshire:
The flag of North Yorkshire – similar to again, to nordic flags, except in the colours of Yorkshire. Nothing to really be added by this flag that hasn’t been shown by others, but I’m including it for the sake of equal treatment.
So I now had numerous ideas and points of direction to span from.


I started from here, I thought about how it could be advanced upon.

My Idea came to me almost instantly, with what I called: ‘The Trinity Flag’:

The flag would have three points, indicating Sheffield’s position as a beacon of The North, it’s continuation of being a green city and finally, it’s place as a rising creative – as well as general industrial – city.


I also wanted to include the white rose of Yorkshire, clearly showing sheffield’s roots – but I wanted to combine it with other hereditary icons, so I thought about either ringing it with steel, or representing it with a ‘steel rose’.


While doing this, I also thought about a logo for the City, many drafts were made from this, but I felt that this part of the project would be more difficult than the flag designing section.

To do that, I looked into the most influential cities in the world, using this list.

I also looked into the ‘I Amsterdam’ project, that was prevelent a while ago, in order to see what sort of logo’s they went with.


Clearly playing on the “I AM” idea, drawing in the populace of the city into the idea.


Coincidentally, the College’s own advertising could prove to be some sort of inspiration for this:009_Open_Evenings_1400x680

Obviously playing off the typography of the sentence “We’d like you to see for yourself”. This idea interests me very much and could prove very effective at both distinguishing the city as well as being marketable.



A Brand has to encapsulate the ideals that someone/thing needs. Be it a car company or a technology manufacturer. The Brand has it’s attraction, it’s target audience. For a whole city, especially one with as big a population diversity as Sheffield would be nearly impossible… or so I thought, till this idea struck me.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 12.55.42

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So then I thought how this could all be tied together and came up with up.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 12.56.07

‘The More Than Sheffield’ campaign.

Where Sheffield could be more than the sum of it’s component parts.

It would work like this:

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 12.56.33

With a relevant colour or image in the circle- this is partly to keep a constant theme, but also because it draws on the design of the original brief provider – Made North.


So  I toyed around with many different ideas on what to do with both the logo, as well as the logo it’s self, it’s font going through many different alterations throughout the design process, before I finally decided on working with a blend of both Scifly – seen in my Pulse logo – and a Font known as Shree Devanagari 714, culminating the following design:

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 11.50.15


Looking at my first design, I was pleased with myself.

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Then I thought more, and came up with a better idea, adding a ‘We’re’ to help the reader identify with the saying, as it is one that resonates with the feelings of the people of the city.

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Using this as a form of template, I carried on creating other designs around other words, such as ‘More than A City’ and ‘More than People’, implying that being part of sheffield means you are part of a culture of some form.

But then, I realised how simple the text looked, so I altered it’s formatting, location and size, resulting in:

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 10.42.31

I then opened my eyes, properly and saw a much better idea. With a rolling landscape such as the Yorkshire moors, it’d be a waste to not use them to my advantage.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 10.42.44

Formatting the words across it’s hills, and making the brand logo smaller, this would be the new standard which all other ‘banners’ in this set would be based upon.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 10.42.59

Which were all very good, but they could be improved tenfold, with simple design elements.

Now, please allow me to break formality and professionalism by posting a youtube link.


Anyway, continuing with professionalism.

After a brief talk with a tutor, I also edited the background of the ‘more than Steel’ image, due to the fact that the buildings used in the image are general, as apposed to being unique to Sheffield.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 11.13.28.png

So, with my banners completed, and my logo’s looking impressive, I moved onto the final and arguably most difficult part of this project. Flag Designing.


While this should be simple, as I have designed a few flags before, for fictional stories that I write in my spare time – this was, however, before I started this course.


so I jumped in, running with the idea that I started this project with; the self-proclaimed  ‘Trinity Flag’.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 14.08.04

Which, while looking pretty in my eyes, didn’t fit with the new theme that had been made by using the circle aesthetic, and was ultimately scrapped.

Next, I tried a variant on this, by incorporating some of sheffield’s heritage:

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 10.58.13

7 points for 7 hills, as well as three diamonds to represent the time that this project has taken place, 3 years.

I jokingly called this flag: Ice Canada, for clear reasons.

I ran with this series of designs for a short while, in a few variations

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The above variant was to show Sheffield as a shimmering beacon of the north, hence the bright centre point.


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This was to show the multicultural aspects of sheffield, however, I felt it looked too much like The Gay Pride flag, which while not a bad message, wouldn’t be fit for purpose.

Another failed design, however, I did see some potential in the trio of diamonds – looking back at my logos, I realised something which should have been obvious from the start: They’re all circle based.

So my next design:

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 14.08.20


The trio of diamonds, inside an orange circle, alongside my projects title. I believe that this design looked clean and professional, but I experimented with other ideas, such as the following.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 14.08.29

A merger of both the points, and the new design. At first, I liked this design too, but then I realised that it reminded me of something…


chut lulajpu’bogh qoj’a’, veb.

So, next up, I ran with the circle aesthetic some more, culminating in:

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 14.08.43

Which while possessing all the logo designs, simply looked cluttered and busy. Neeeeexxt

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Boom. Clear.

I tried a simplistic design, Resulting in the above design, appropriately dubbed: ‘Pointy Japan’, again, while I liked this design, I tried to modify it, as it still didn’t fit right with the brief, nor with my expectations.

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So I added text. A good start, but this design still did’t seem to sit right with me, so…

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 10.42.17I made this, which at time of typing this, is my favourite design – but still needs work.

Refining it further (by this point, I’ve likely tried to refine this more than the process to make unleaded petrol) coming up with this design:

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A larger version of the previous design, giving it generally more impact.

But while copying this, I mis-clicked and made the background green.

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Which made me think, both about the original research, but also, the possibility of expanding on the 3 diamonds.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.14.12

An S. A Symbol of Sheffield! Slanted upward, relating to shape theory: ‘Being a forward facing and progressive’ place.

But, despite that, it still looked wrong.

I changed the colours to see if that would help

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.14.19

It didn’t.

So, I decided to go mental with the abstract S shape and break everything.

Boop. Sudden S.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 12.59.36

It broke, but it looks good. Again, little justification for this design, much like the last one.

However, more refining can be done!

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 13.00.06

But now, it had barely any resemblance to sheffield, nor sheffield design week 3 so it wasn’t fit for purpose.

So I went away, looked back over my old designs and began re-designing on paper, in an attempt to get back on track.

So I took one of the early Be More ideas, added the words ‘Sheffield Design Week’ then dismantled it, in hopes to see what on earth happened.

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That was the result. All the features in a clunky, messy image. But there was definitely promise here. After a short alteration, this happened:

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 14.30.55

The 3 of week 3 forming the Be part of ‘be more’, tying in typography. After making this design, I decided that I needed outside input and showed it to both friends and family, as a sort of audience research.

They came to a general decision of it needing more colour, so I came back to it and thought – hey, why NOT use pieces of heraldry? If it’s only influences, then that’d be okay, right?

So this line of thinking led to:

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 09.51.23

First off, the logo has been relocated, to place more focus on the ‘more’ aspect – so much more that it purposely comes off the edge of the flag, inspired by an old Clarks Shoe’s advert.

The background divide was inspired by heraldic design, similar to flag designs of Yorkshire, plus it provides a contrast to the other colours used in the image

The title had ‘Week 3’ added to it to simply clarify to the masses that read it, and to justify the otherwise, odd looking B.

Finally, a second orange circle was added to the O in more, to cover up the colour divide, as well as draw the eye to the date, 2016. The 2016 also follows the dividing line.

Two alternative’s have also been designed, one with a larger more off-screen ‘more’, the other with a more conservative ‘more’, that stays on the screen.


Next I tried to make designs, in situate, of everything I’ve designed so far.

I was preparing to finalise the banners and place them into a complied document, when I realised, I didn’t have any of the logo’s of other affiliates. So a swift addition later, resulted in this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 14.45.42


I knew that the banners required some refinement – so I jumped right in and came up with this design.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 14.53.02

Which is both much more appealing to the eye, allows more space to hold affiliate logos, plus it gives something for the banners to play off of. Now, I had everything I needed, but I wanted to go one step further. I decided to create a small booklet, showing off everything that I’ve made for this project, as well as justifications for them – akin to the corporate manual project, found here.










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