The purpose of this book is to communicate the concept behind the new NatWest branch design with a focus on sustainability and the origin and story of the fabrics, materials and furniture. It needed to exist as a “boasting book” that could answer any questions the customer might have about the branch design – from the chair they’re sitting on, to the table in front of them.
The challenge for us was to come up with a design that needed to tread a fine line between conforming to very strict existing corporate guidelines, but also be something exciting, interesting and creative. The brief was to create a beautiful book that was “un-bank-like”, but while of course remained on brand.
We bridged this gap by integrating key, core elements from the NatWest brand guidelines with the creative concept. We came up with the idea of creating a “technical sketchbook” – something that appeared clean and considered on the exterior, but inside contained an honest, hand-crafted, human exploration of materials and processes with a real consideration for specifics and engineering. We aimed to put a spotlight on craftmanship through the use of custom hand-drawn ink illustrations on gridded pages as well as physical material swatches, paired with considered, structured typography and layered papers in the NatWest brand colours.
We also aimed to highlight the beauty of technical structures by displaying different types of information and content – such as plans, diagrams, swatches, photography and stories – on different paper stocks and page sizes.
In order to fully reflect the sustainable nature of the content; all papers used were sourced from the UK, and we ensured that each paper had a low environmental impact in their manufacturing process as well as being fully recyclable and biodegradable. Every paper was also carbon balanced (a process by which the carbon impact of the production and distribution of the paper has been offset by the World Land Trust; an international conservation charity). We also bound the book with thread to reduce the amount of glue used in conventional bookbinding methods. The tiny amount of glue that was used was water based and solvent free. From the early stages of design, the book was also considered so that it created the least amount of wastage and offcuts possible throughout the production process from the size of the book itself to the method of printing. Fabric and wood swatches were created from recycled offcuts.