St Austell

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the brief

St Austell, on the South West Coast of England is Cornwall’s largest town dating back to the 13th century and initially came to prominence through the mining of tin and copper. However, the discovery of large deposits of china clay to the north of the town was transformational for the area and this quickly became the main industry. St Austell relied heavily on the China Clay Industry which has declined in more recent times which has had a profound effect locally, particularly on the area around the clay pits with the loss of jobs within the China Clay companies but also businesses involved in the wider supply chains and associated services.

A number of efforts to reimagine the place had been tried and failed, with some people even calling it ‘St Awful’. 2016 was the turning point as a group of organisations and businesses that formed St Austell Bay Economic Forum (SABEF) developed a vision and began to progress a number of projects aimed at growing the economy and improving the place both in the town centre, across the wider St Austell Bay and clay country areas.

SABEF commissioned thinkingplace to develop a forward-looking narrative that would build on the work already underway and evolve what they were doing, not start from fresh. This would provide a wider place context to help capitalise on the amazing assets and strengths of the area and give further impetus to the projects and ideas relating to clay town and ‘greening’.

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what was delivered

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  • a successful multi route engagement with stakeholders from across all sectors and industries and all geographical areas across the St Austell area
  • a compelling and forward looking narrative which articulates why St Austell is special, what it is for and where it is going that highlighted and provided focus for its green and ceramic credentials
  • greater clarity on the role of St Austell within the wider Cornwall proposition and economy, what it contributes, the opportunities it offers and what it is prioritising
  • a highly distinctive ‘umbrella’ brand visual identity and visual language specifically designed to encourage stakeholder usage, that communicates and celebrates the future of St Austell in a fresh and confident way
  • an extensive brand toolkit that provides stakeholders with assets to incorporate the St Austell place brand within their designs and templates including: PowerPoint, letterhead, email footer, posters and typefaces all of which are accessible on the new place website https://www.staustell.co.uk/
  • a new place-led website that links the new narrative, visual language and photography providing a multifaceted destination site for visitors, local people and businesses www.staustell.co.uk
  • a strengthened place relationship with other pottery and ceramics centres such as Stoke-on-Trent that reflects the wider thinking and ambition of St Austell to ‘do things differently’
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What they say

“thinkingplace’s work is both innovative and inspiring in equal measure. St Austell has so much to celebrate but we needed some help to unlock it. We commissioned thinkingplace to work their magic and at last St Austell can start to see light at the end of the tunnel for an even brighter future.

We worked well with their team who we found to be consummate professionals and easy to work with. They ‘got’ our brief and we would recommend any place to seriously consider engaging with thinkingplace to help realise their full potential.”

James Staughton, Chief Executive, St Austell Brewery and Chair St Austell Bay Economic Forum and Cornwall Place Board

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