Tam Preston

Chener Books Branding and Brand Guidelines

A logo design and branding project for an independent bookshop in East Dulwich, London. Chener Books was opened 40 years ago by John and Janet Kennedy as a hobby, but quickly grew into a fully fledged bookshop. It was taken over by Miranda Peake, after John Kennedy passed away in May 2018. Miranda had been approached by the Evening Standard to take part in a year long Future London project which aims to prove how tech can ‘revolutionise the future’ for three selected London businesses. Chener Books would be partnered with a tech team who would build a website and social media presence for the shop, drawing on training and advice from Google Digital Garage.

Before the project could get started, Miranda needed to provide the tech team with a logo and brand guidelines that they could work from for building the website and for applying to any social media platforms they would set up.

Despite being open for 40 years, the bookshop had no branding to speak of, other than a shop facia sign set in Times New Roman against a dark green background. Whilst Miranda was keen to modernise the shop, she was also wary of drastically moving away from it’s familiar appearance, in case it should upset the many loyal and long term customers in the area.

Bearing this in mind, I began the project by researching as much as possible about the history, customers and character of the shop, in order to establish the existing brand values that would be the basis of the new logo and branding.

Chener Books is very much a traditional, ‘proper’ and ‘no-nonsense’ bookshop, and it was important to create a primary logo that would reflect this. I decided to use the typeface ‘Joanna’, designed by Eric Gill, who described it as a ‘book face free from all fancy business’. For the colour palette I used as a starting point the distinctive dark green of the shop front, and to this I added some brighter and fresher accent colours, as well as selection of more muted secondary colours that worked well in combination with the primary colours.

The Brand Guidelines I created for Chener Books cover all the basics needed when creating a new brand; brand values, primary and secondary logos, logo positioning, facia, colours, typography, tone of voice and illustrations (provided by artist Sue Peake). The key to strong and effective branding is consistency, and so the job of the brand guidelines is to ensure that there is always consistency of branding across applications, regardless of who is designing the application. When used correctly, brand guidelines are an aid to creativity, not a restriction.