Atomvalley

Creating an innovation mega-cluster

Client

Rochdale Development Agency

Project

The North East Growth Corridor

Services

Naming, Destination Story, Brand Identity, Design

Sector

Property & Placemaking

Creating an innovation mega-cluster

The Brief

The North East Growth Corridor will become a vast mega-cluster of business innovation – an internationally significant investment location and the UK’s go-to area for advanced manufacturing and machinery. Powering wider regeneration and prosperity for Rochdale and Bury, the brand should reflect progress, scale and world-class ambition. This is anything but another business park.

Background

Overseen by Rochdale Development Agency (RDA), on behalf of Bury Council and Rochdale Borough Council, the North East Growth Corridor (NEGC) was a collective term for large-scale development sites with significant potential in Greater Manchester. Previously referred to by a number of loose terms, this once in a generation project needed a clear name and a unifying concept to capture the attention of both the public and investors.

The Solution

With industry, innovation and excitement in its DNA, Atom Valley brings together Manchester’s past with its present and future. This is the place that was once at the forefront of the first industrial revolution. Now it will be the catalyst for the next. The brand visually and verbally illustrates this rich heritage, connecting it to a relevant, relatable and powerful proposition that amplifies a unique opportunity to change the face of the region.

Creating an innovation mega-cluster

The Brief

The North East Growth Corridor will become a vast mega-cluster of business innovation – an internationally significant investment location and the UK’s go-to area for advanced manufacturing and machinery. Powering wider regeneration and prosperity for Rochdale and Bury, the brand should reflect progress, scale and world-class ambition. This is anything but another business park.

Overseen by Rochdale Development Agency (RDA), on behalf of Bury Council and Rochdale Borough Council, the North East Growth Corridor (NEGC) was a collective term for large-scale development sites with significant potential in Greater Manchester. Previously referred to by a number of loose terms, this once in a generation project needed a clear name and a unifying concept to capture the attention of both the public and investors.

The North East Growth Corridor will become a vast mega-cluster of business innovation – an internationally significant investment location and the UK’s go-to area for advanced manufacturing and machinery. Powering wider regeneration and prosperity for Rochdale and Bury, the brand should reflect progress, scale and world-class ambition. This is anything but another business park.

With industry, innovation and excitement in its DNA, Atom Valley brings together Manchester’s past with its present and future. This is the place that was once at the forefront of the first industrial revolution. Now it will be the catalyst for the next. The brand visually and verbally illustrates this rich heritage, connecting it to a relevant, relatable and powerful proposition that amplifies a unique opportunity to change the face of the region.

Atom Valley logo.

Industrial revolution 2.0.

As the place that split the atom, spun fly shuttles, cracked codes and programmed computers, Manchester’s pioneering attitude and spirit of innovation is well documented.

Yet this name is about more than just history. It’s about the single layer of atoms in graphene – a revolutionary, modern-day Manchester innovation – which is unique as the lightest material in the world. The ultra-thin yet super-strong material is of particular prominence for the area, with both research institutions and businesses playing an active role in its development.

video

It also serves as a useful metaphor, with its strong, dynamic and limitless potential paving the way for industrial revolution 2.0. Similarly, in a physical sense atoms come together to create molecules; the perfect comparison for the communities – both commercial and residential – that are set to live and interconnect here.

The name helps the project feel part of a wider Greater Manchester family: Trafford Park, Media City, Airport City… Atom Valley. The ‘valley’ element adds an all important sense of scale – if the other projects are cities, this is something far bigger. It also reflects its green nature and the experience of approaching the sites from the M62 and West Yorkshire.

Atom Valley logo close-up.
Atom Valley locator animation.

Bringing ideas together

The visual identity is built around two ideas: precision engineering and Manchester’s association with the atom. The former is a crucial part of the area’s current commercial activity, while the latter relates to the city’s long-standing spirit of innovation – from their historic first splitting of the atom in 1917 to the more recent, Nobel Prize winning, discovery of graphene.

Forming a natural symmetry, the A and V are played off each other in a precisely aligned lock-up. The metaphorical atom is isolated between them, as a single point of focus. However, the identity also allows that single point of focus to zoom, expand and grow – so the atom becomes a container for imagery and video.

Elsewhere, the atom can cluster in the same way the business, people and ideas within Atom Valley will. The logo itself is also collapsible depending on context – while locally there is no need for a Manchester locator, internationally it will benefit from the long form logo. Equally, for social and small containers the logo collapses completely.

Atom Valley brochure front cover.
Atom Valley brochure spread.
Atom Valley photography.
Atom Valley photography.
video
video

Blending industry and vibrancy

The colour palette is a vibrant green coupled with a deeper grey – a visual ode to the naturally space grey tones of science and industry, complemented by an energised green.

The green hints at Atom Valley’s rural roots and sustainable aims, yet it’s amped up to an almost punchy, computerised green, symbolising technology and progress. Working alongside other components, the palette sits on the right side of corporate, business-focused without being too minimal or dropping into the realms of public bodies or local authorities.

Atom Valley totem signage.
Atom Valley flag banners.
Atom Valley wayfinding.
Atom Valley hoarding.
“From the very beginning, Better’s process was fantastic. Their limitless patience and unbelievable creativity has helped bring Atom Valley alive. First class is often an overused term, but Better’s work is deserving of that description. They’ve created a brand that will play a crucial role in delivering this once in a lifetime opportunity for Rochdale, Bury and Greater Manchester. “It’s also unified our diverse range of stakeholders and received the seal of approval from Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester; Paul Ormerod, Chair of the RDA; Neil Eccles, Head of Innovation at the RDA; and John Blundell, Portfolio Holder of the Economy at Rochdale Bury Council.”

Alison Salas

Marketing Manager, Rochdale Development Agency

video
Atom Valley newspaper ad.
Atom Valley business card.
Atom Valley brand guidelines.