Creating the 'Culture Derby' Brand

By Chris Ison (Codemakers)

Codemakers-Culture-Derby-Mainframe-Blog-ListChris Ison, Creative Director at Codemakers explains how the 'Culture Derby' brand came to life and how it helps support Derby's bid for City of Culture 2025.


Branding isn’t really our thing.

We spend most of our days developing web and mobile apps, both for our customers and our own software-as-a-service products. We love designing and developing beautiful user interfaces and crafting digital experiences that transform business processes and delight users. We’ve successfully taken our own products to market, which requires imagination and lateral thinking.

We’re certainly a creative bunch.

It’s just that logo design and branding isn’t really something that we do every day. But when we were invited by Derby City Council, via Mainframe, to pitch for the Culture Derby 2025 branding and website project, we leapt at the chance.

We are Derbyites through-and-through and, despite our recent expansion to Manchester, we love to support our home city whenever we can and we are proud of our capacity, as a city, to punch above our weight in almost all areas, including our cultural offering.

QUAD, Deda, Derby Book Festival, the Darley Abbey concerts, Derby Theatre, Derby Museums, Sinfonia Viva… the list goes on.

1-Culture Derby Logo

Unfortunately, ‘culture’ is a word often associated with self-importance and highbrow events that the average person on the street can feel disconnected from. When developing the Culture Derby brand, we wanted it to be as accessible and inclusive as possible, to feel brave and forward-thinking and celebrate our history & heritage of making, building and endeavour - a brand that would reach out to people of all ages and backgrounds, with a welcoming and outward-looking disposition.

A tight timeframe meant we had only days from pitch to launch, but with a clear brief and the obvious enthusiasm for our proposed direction from the Culture Derby team we set to work expanding on our initial designs, focussing not only on visual direction, but also tone of voice.

2-Culture Derby Website

“Derby, the city at the heart of the country, with culture at its heart” encapsulates Derby’s unique offering and we were extremely pleased this tagline has been adopted from our initial pitch presentation.

3-Culture Derby Swag

With great effort from the team at Codemakers, we were able to produce a brand, website and the ‘Culture Strategy’ documents within a tight timeframe, which we believe reflects these core values.

We’ve also pledged £20,000 of development and support over the next 4 years in support of the Culture Derby 2025 bid.

The Culture Derby campaign is gathering pace fast, and has already galvanised a city, its businesses and people - something that we’re incredibly proud to be a part of.

It’s fantastic to see the new brand ‘out there’ and we’ve loved seeing all the pictures on social media of the large signage touring our great city.

Culture Derby-1

Collaborating with Culture Derby has been a delight, and we hope that our contribution, no matter how small compared to the efforts of Adam Buss, Mike Bown and the team, can help get Derby into the final four, and, dare we dream, even further.

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