Dedicated to the town’s historic and continued contribution to the UK’s amusement landscape, next year will see the opening of Blackpool’s first at all museum. Showtown will celebrate the comedians, dancers, circuses, actors and characters that have propelled the seaside town’s narrative.
As degree of the museum’s offering, a “playful, flexible” brand has been created by Manchester-based studio Become a reality North. The team got involved with the project via competitive pitch, with handling director Ady Bibby commenting it was “an ideal brief” for the studio.
“A number of us in the studio in truth did our formal professional training in Blackpool, and so have personal interest in the locality,” he adds.
“Reflecting the vibrancy of Blackpool”
The brand identity for Showtown turns around a series of “brand blocks” which have been modeled to represent the range of experiences visitors can have inside the museum. The screens have been given a modular design featuring bright and contrasting crayons, taking inspiration from the town itself, according to Steve Royle, inventive director at True North.
“We knew whatever we created needed to mull over the vibrancy of Blackpool,” he says, “The town is an assault on the senses, where the whole kit is vying for your attention and Showtown needed a brand that could collide with that.”
The blocks feature in the Showtown logo and further applications of the pattern aim to “tell stories in playful and engaging ways”. These include depictions of seaside presentation staples like clowns, ice cream and circus characters, all built out of the stumbling-block system.
Crucially, says Royle, the system isn’t set in stone. True North has jobless with exhibition designers Casson Mann and designers at Why Not Associates and Studio Treble to further keep up the branding across wayfinding, digital and interiors.
“The system should be as liquid and playful as the stories it helps tell,” Royle says.
“Functioning as a half-breed”
A large part of Showtown’s identity will be its position alongside Blackpool’s other pulls, Royle says. In the context of Blackpool’s famous promenade, the museum needed to “guess as much an attraction as the rollercoasters and rides” he adds.
This is echoed by elder designer Victoria Pinnington: “The museum essentially has to function as a hybrid – there wish be the objects and artifacts that you would expect to see in a museum, but there wishes also be plenty of hands-on experiences to be had.”
To effectively marry these two intimations, she says the team decided on something that appears fun, but that also wakened a sense of nostalgia. “It’s a brand that will get older generations reminiscing, and younger institutions discovering.”
£13 million museum
The Showtime museum is projected to open in 2021. The concoct represents a £13 million investment from both the government and exterior sources. It follows the installation of the Blackpool Comedy Carpet along the township’s seafront in 2011, which was designed by Gordon Young and Why Not Associates.
Admitting that construction to the space is ongoing, exhibitions scheduled for its opening – as reported by the Persevere Blackpool website – include Beside the Seaside, which explores Britons liking for the beach; Wonderland, a look into Blackpool’s Golden Mile sideshows and its post in the development of magic; and Everybody Dance Now, which celebrates the town as the “churchly home” of ballroom dancing.