You shouldn't judge a book by its cover
Case in point, Keel Row's branding didn’t reflect their reputation as one of the leading antiquarian book dealers in the North East of England. We helped them blow the dust off the front cover to reveal the essence of their brand, give them clarity around who they are and how to market themselves – and, finally, launch a new brand identity and website that sets them up for the next chapter.
The birth of the cultural magpie
One of the challenges of branding Keel Row was the store’s eclecticism. There’s just so much stuff. Books and printed ephemera cover every conceivable subject with over 10,000 products, each one as individual as the next. Then there’s the sheer variety of customers; some are popping in for a second-hand paperback while others invest thousands of pounds on collector pieces. Bringing all this together in one unified brand identity was a tall order, which explains why it hadn’t been done before.
The design outcome came from the notion of hunting for treasure. Our bold-as-brass bird was inspired by a woodcut created by a famous local artist, Joseph Crawhall II (1821–1896) and was used with the blessing of the Crawhall estate. The icon represents an avian Indiana Jones, capturing both Keel Row’s ability to find hidden gems and the browsing habits of customers who spend hours picking through the shelves in search of treasure.
Building confidence and trust
Unlike most e-commerce websites, the majority of sales would probably happen in person. However, before a sale, there tends to be either a request for more information or a negotiation on price. Since Keel Row also buy antiquarian books from the public, it’s natural for sellers to wonder, “Is this valuation accurate” or “Is the book in the condition described?” The first place they go for validation is often the website.
To that end, we designed and developed a website site with improved UX, clear browsing categories and detailed product descriptions. We then rolled out the identity to other areas of the business including stationary sets, marketing collateral, storefront signage and vehicle livery. The end result is a new brand that positions Keel Row as an experienced and reputable dealer able to compete in a global marketplace.
What we did
Brand Identity System
Print Design and Production
Signage & Environmental Graphics
Website Design and Development