Dissecting An Expressionistic Brand For the Rapidly Transforming Canada Water

Posted inBranding & Identity Design
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Canada Water is an area of the Docklands in southeast London, and it's named after a freshwater lake and wildlife refuge. Dixon Baxi partnered with the British land to reimagine the city as the new town center of London. While this is seemingly a huge undertaking, the team did so effortlessly.

The logo admires the life and scenery of Canada Water, and the upward strokes in the letters imply positivity and forward-thinking. Meanwhile, the link between the two words suggests water's connection to nature and Canada Water to the city. Not to mention the bright color palette that intensifies the branding system with the vibrancy from the land itself. Overall, the new system taps into the town's historical roots while still pushing forward and thinking about the future.

DixonBaxi partners with British Land on a once in a generation opportunity to reimagine Canada Water – home of the iconic Printworks, the docks, a storied history and vibrant communities – as a new town centre in the heart of London. A radical and ambitious, transformational project – on a scale not seen in centuries – that stretches across 53 acres and over the next 12 years and beyond.

A beautifully simple logotype celebrates the spirit, landscape and connectivity of Canada Water. Upward strokes in the letters suggest positivity and the future, while the link between the two words suggest the connection of water to nature and Canada Water to the city.

We looked 10 years ahead, blending insights from the past with the future. We immersed ourselves in the heritage, culture and provenance of Canada Water – digging deep into the archives of the peninsula to truly understand its unique ethos. We discovered that Canada Water is defined by the resilience of its community, as the birthplace of leaders and mavericks.

At Canada Water, landscapes, communities and ideas come together in new, unexpected ways. Canada Water is green at heart, blue in heritage, and ideally placed. The brand celebrates the unique natural landscape and central location while blurring the lines too demonstrate a more fluid way of life.

Central to the brand are ‘Gestures’ – bold, sweeping strokes that evoke the fluidity of water and suggest elements of the landscape, architecture and community, all in constant evolution, layered and changing. Inspired by the spontaneity and painterly style of abstract expressionism, they are open to interpretation, evolving every time they are seen.

We partnered with artist Jay Cover to imbue the brand with a warm, whimsical series of line work illustrations that reveal mini stories of life at Canada Water. A lively contrast between the buzzing urban centre and the natural landscape of the woodlands.

From signage systems and materials to fabrics and films we developed a complete framework for the brand and service to scale across high-profile developments in London.

The colour palette is bright, vibrant and sampled from local areas and historical icons from local bridges to the docks. We chose Karelia as the primary typeface for its organic curvature and contrasting geometric forms for a distinctive look while typographic layouts feel conversational and evoke a sense of rhythm and journey.

With so many needs across the neighbourhood from new buildings, streets, digital, marketing and consumer needs, the brand system is both singular and highly flexible. Unmistakable in its visual clarity.

The brand will evolve as the neighbourhood changes. Finding new ways to bring sustainable, integrated approaches to how the brand is used and integrated respectfully into the community. Tapping into the powerfully history while leading the change to a bright future.

Project Credits

Dixon Baxi | @dixonbaxi