Branding Britain’s best-connected trade region

After working on the UK’s largest industrial zone, Teesworks, and the future-facing place strategy for Middlesbrough Council, we’re proud to complete a significant regional hat-trick by launching the Teesside Freeport brand.

28th October 2021

28th October 2021

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Estimated Reading Time 7 Minutes

Paul Bell

Paul Bell

Paul Bell

Written by Paul Bell,
Client Relationship Director

Co-founder Paul is at the heart of the business; acting as port of call for national and international clients throughout their BetterBrandBuilder™ journey. This includes leading on clients relations, acting as project lead and delivering strategic support.

In March 2021, Teesside was announced as one of the first places in the UK to receive freeport status. And as an agency with its heart in the Tees Valley, being involved in a project that’s set to shape the area for generations to come, is both an honour and a privilege.

Working alongside the Tees Valley Combined Authority, as well as stakeholders including Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, PD Ports, AV Dawson and Sembcorp, our job was to create a brand that reflects the ambition, scale and opportunity of Britain’s best-connected trade region.

Set to become the UK’s first and biggest operating freeport, the site covers approximately 4,500 acres, stretching across Teesworks, Teesport, the Port of Middlesbrough, the Port of Hartlepool, Liberty Steel, LV Shipping, Wilton International and Teesside International Airport. As one of the UK's largest integrated industrial economies, the freeport builds on existing manufacturing strengths and has the potential to create more than 18,000 jobs and boost the local economy by billions of pounds.

At the launch of the brand, Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is only the beginning of the game-changing freeport, set to create thousands upon thousands of good quality, well-paid jobs that local people are crying out for while driving growth and investment.

“The freeport will have sites in every corner of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool including here at Wilton Engineering.

"By spreading the benefits, it will ensure each and every community will feel the impact from the jobs the freeport will create, the investment it will drive and the regeneration it will enable.”

Ben Houchen unveiling the Teesside Freeport brand.

Following a brandscape phase which tested visual routes with partners and key stakeholders, we landed on an iconic brand symbol that represents the intersection of sea, land and air. The monogram is formed of three modern abstract shapes, each providing a sense of movement and dynamism as they connect. As well as forming a unique letterform, the shapes are also used as a brand device to frame content and act as a window into images.

The colour palette offers a flowing, clean and progressive feel, that holds enough weight to pack a punch while fitting perfectly between the blue of Teesworks and the green of Wilton. Combining this vibrant aqua accent colour alongside more neutral blues and a clean, fresh white, allow both the brand and the logo to work seamlessly alongside the freeport’s partner brands and local authorities.

Ben Houchen and Jacob Young revealing the Teesside Freeport brand.

To support the visual identity, a strapline was developed to reflect its size and connectivity. ‘Global trade. Global scale.’ expresses the freeport’s unique offering and crucial role in the UK’s post-Brexit economy, and just like the visual identity, the strapline is progressive, sharp and impactful.

The brand was revealed on the banks of the Tees at Wilton Engineering, where business and local leaders converged to see the identity first hand. From an agency point of view, it was a proud moment seeing the identity showcased on the big screen and launched into public consciousness.

At the dramatic unveiling, Mayor Ben Houchen said: "This is a fanatic unifying brand.

"It's really pleasing that we've been able to use a local firm, rather than a national agency, that showcases what talent we've got in the region."

Teesside Freeport brand reveal.

With our studio located at the former home of Bolckow and Vaughan, we understand the significance of the freeport and the opportunities it will create for our area. And for ourselves it’s another significant moment too. Alongside our recent work with Teesworks, we believe we've built a brand that will play a major role across the region for years to come; a brand that will symbolise a catalyst for further change on a local, national and international stage.

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