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In 2008, we were commissioned by Ballymore Group to develop a brand identity for Old Spitalfields Market, one of the best-loved markets in London. In 1682, Charles II granted a charter to establish a market in Spitalfields, later replaced by the Horner buildings, completed in 1887. We spent months researching the history of the market, and from that, developed an identity that was both contemporary, and rooted in the building's past.

Old Spitalfields Market – Identity and Wayfinding

The logotype uses Akzidenz Grotesk, a typeface found on uncovered market signage dating from the early 1900s. Released in 1896, it is contemporaneous with the Horner buildings, but still feels modern.


The brand colours were taken from the layers of paint uncovered during the restoration process. The building was painted 11 times in its 120 year history, which, when stripped back, revealed six key heritage colours. These were mixed with colours found in Spitalfields silks, which were produced in the area since the 17th century.


We also developed a signage and wayfinding system. The shop signage was hand-painted in the heritage colours using Akzidenz Grotesk, and a set of wayfinding totems were created. The gates were named for historic Spitalfields figures, and their stories, along with old photographs of the market, were used throughout.

We were also commissioned to produce a lightbox cladding for the market's electricity substation. Working with architects Jestico + Whiles and PR company Seb&Fiona, we created four typographic panels, three of which contained an historic passage of text relating to Spitalfields. For the fourth panel of text, we commissioned local author Jeanette Winterson to write a passage of text about the market (shown here). The whole substation was wrapped in a timeline of the history of Spitalfields dating from AD 300.


The lightbox is lit using programmable LEDs, which can be set to create millions of colour combinations.