London's iconic Leicester Square reveals new place brand and logo
Somewhere in London there’s a place home to one of the UK’s earliest statues of William Shakespeare, a place featuring the world's largest sweetshop and a place once known as London’s most renowned duelling location. Perhaps surprising for some, this location is Leicester Square, an iconic stop on the tourist trail and commuter stop for millions of Londoners each week.
Despite its bustling crowds and continual popularity, however, Leicester Square faces stiff competition from competing London institutions in drawing visitors. The area needed a renewed place brand strategy focusing on its credentials as an entertainment hub as well as its variety of unique attractions, allowing it to hold its own in a global city of such choice. A partnership between the Heart of London Business Alliance and local governing body Westminster Council has therefore overseen the development of a new place brand for Leicester Square, cementing its as ‘the home of entertainment.’
Working with London-based brand agency Lantern, the Westminster Council and Heart of London partnership adopted a strategy to market the square through its cultural and historic roots. Through the partnership, a variety of local organisations were engaged in the rebrand process, allowing Leicester Square’s initial rebrand blueprint to be applied and extended and ensure consistency across the location.
For Lantern, the brand project represented an opportunity to provide a visual identity, logo and associated marketing materials for an area ubiquitous across the London imagination.
Lantern says, “The positioning statement informs a new brand identity system. The logo captures its very essence – a heart, an upturned ‘L’ pointing to the centre of London, a pin on a map and the glowing lights of a 24 hour entertainment hub. The letters LSQ reflect a common usage shorthand version of the area’s name – often used online and across social media.”
The new identity for Leicester Square features a logo, its heart shape intended to reflect the area’s propensity to be considered the heart of London. Such a gesture is at the core of the Leicester Square place brand; it identifies the space as distinct from other areas competing to also be considered the heart of London. It also acts as a gateway to other central areas in the city, emphasised through a wayfinding and signage system that illustrates Leicester Square’s proximity to other iconic spaces including Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross.
“The logo is supported by a suite of colourful gradients, designed to represent the sense of flow and change in light as the destination evolves throughout the day,” says Lantern. “A new narrative captures the spirit and attitude of the area whilst also revealing many of the surprising stories the square has to offer.”
“This is an exceptionally exciting time for Leicester Square one of the oldest and most established entertainment centres in London,” says Ros Morgan, CEO of Heart of London Business Alliance. “We have been working closely with our partners at Westminster City Council and have been in consultation with over 25 of the area’s powerhouse brands across entertainment, hospitality and leisure to create a visual identity that celebrates this iconic visitor destination.
The brand does not exist in isolation however. For Morgan, a core part of the new place brand offering for Leicester Square is the accompanying programme of cultural events, designed to provide visitors with a multi sensory brand experience while showcasing the area’s variety of venues. “Over the coming months, our teams will be considering creative concepts to launch a life size installation of the new brand logo,” says Morgan. “The life-size logo will capture the mind of the visitor, create a shareable photographic moment and demonstrate the square’s renewed confidence in the heart of London’s West End.”
With 250,000 visitors each day, Leicester Square is truly a pivotal space in establishing London’s wider identity. Going forward, and particularly given the associated challenges of Brexit, how such iconic spaces are branded mayl impact the city’s overall brand - as well as perceptions of the UK at a national level. For Lantern, the Heart of London Business Alliance and Westminster Council, signposting Leicester Square as a key hub in London’s entertainment offering is likely to make all the difference.
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Identity work in progress