Clothworkers’ Company and Foundation

A programme of design…

Cleaning, stretching, teaselling and shearing: the original, strictly-defined craft of finishing woollen cloth no longer exists. But its City Livery Company The Clothworkers’ Company lives on, engaged in membership, affiliations, charity, hospitality and the very modern business of being a crafts patron and funding innovative textiles research. It also has a charitable organisation, The Clothworkers’ Foundation.

Following a visual identity update, The Clothworkers’ Company has been keen to bring its communications into line. Our initial brief was to look at the flipped format annual review for The Clothworkers’ Company and Clothworkers’ Foundation, at picture sourcing and at a new user interface for the members’ area of the website.

On the annual review, we went deeper than simple brand consistency by working out how to make the two organisations’ brands play nicely together while telling distinct stories about the two organisations’ work, in different tones of voice. We did this by creating a single, flexible underlying design framework, making a subtle adjustment to colour and by paying attention to type style and behaviour across the two brands and between print and web. We also brought format and texture into the brand, to reflect the craft values at its heart in a subtle way, choosing a more bookish format, tactile paper and a rigorous production process.

The members’ area web interface was to be elegant, usable and provide a system for navigating different kinds of information. Nothing unusual there – but it also had to be achievable within the constraints of a membership management system. So early discussion and regular dialogue with the developers and membership management consultant were key to designing a buildable interface.

Sourcing pictures for the web turned out to be less of a challenge for The Clothworkers’ Company than had been anticipated in the brief. Access to its sources of images with a design eye revealed high-quality pictures. So instead of recommending additional sources, we’ve helped the organisation look differently at the resources it has.

The programme of design has continued, redesigning the events calendar in a compact, brand-consistent format, designing an exhibition panel for its Chris Ofili tapestry The Caged Bird’s Song and work is ongoing on its membership listings.

The latest project has been to redesign membership magazine The Clothworker to bring it into line with the annual review and members’ supplement. At the heart of our work has been creating a design framework that will be implemented internally for future issues via a gradual handover. The cover has a standalone image area to accommodate a wide variety of textiles, collections, events and affiliations imagery without having to consider the legibility of the masthead. Type styles are carried through from the annual review. A few editorial touches are added including making the most of the centre spread for large images. But the layout is also straightforward, with a clear logic to news, features and listings.

We’re now moving ahead with this year’s annual review and members’ supplement.