By Faith Mitchell, Account Director

When County Durham asked us to put together a brand for their UK City of Culture 2025 bid, we knew we had to shake off clichéd perceptions and create something ambitious, vibrant and modern.

With the shortlist to be announced in a month, it’s crucial that the campaign hits the ground running and makes the maximum impact. We need the people of County Durham to get behind it, securing overwhelming public support for the bid.

Throughout the creative process, and when forming the branding, we knew this campaign needed to cut through hard. It needed character, colour, and to disrupt the hackneyed representations often seen in the media and history books.

It was important not to speak to people in an outdated way, or roll out more pictures of castles, cathedrals, lecture theatres and coal mines – we want this to excite the real, everyday people of County Durham.

From our insights and research, we knew that traditional arts and culture – statues and fine art exhibitions for example – don’t always resonate with everyone. However, arts and culture isn’t limited to these – it includes fresh, exciting things like live music, street food, craft breweries, light shows, and innovative technology.

So how did we capture this?

We flew in the face of tradition, chose a bold, modern typeface, and created a beautiful, modern palette of contrasting colours and vibrant hues. We selected images of Durham that reflected its playful spirit and stunning diversity.

With our strapline ‘Durham. No ordinary county.‘, we not only instil a sense of local pride, but play on the fact that Durham is not just a city, but a county of ancient forests, industrial architecture, waterfalls and moorlands. It’s something made even more pertinent by the fact that this year’s shortlist is the first in which groups of towns are able to put themselves forward, rather than just individual cities.

Truly reflecting this level of diversity and culture was never going to be easy, but here at Drummond Central, we relish a challenge and thrive when we’re tackling something new and ambitious.

We wish County Durham the best of luck with their bid – a region that deserves to be up there with the best of them.