Branding a town

Dorking Landscape


It’s not often a project comes along where you have a chance to see your work all around you – but that’s exactly what happened when we won the pitch to brand the historic market town of Dorking in Surrey, where our studio is based.

The brief was to create a logo and identity for Dorking Town Partnership, for use on marketing material, events and initiatives aimed at driving footfall and creating a prosperous future for the town. The target audience ranged from local residents to international visitors and tourists.
Images: John Miller
Dorking Street
Our First Steps
Our first step was to speak to the people who know the town best: local businesses, retailers and residents. We wanted to know how they see Dorking in the present and in the future. It became apparent that there were three recurring themes; heritage, culture and spirit.

The town is blessed with a rich and hugely interesting heritage. Appearing in the Domesday Book of 1086, its streets are packed with buildings with fascinating stories to tell. From St Martin’s Church spire (the second largest in the UK) to the White Horse, where Charles Dickens is said to have written Pickwick Papers.

But there is much more to Dorking than its past. There is a thriving arts and cultural scene, centred around its art-deco theatre; an array of restaurants, pubs, independent shops and artisan businesses and its enviable position in the heart of the Surrey Hills. Overlooked by Ranmore and Box Hill, the town even boasts the UK’s largest vineyard.

But what makes Dorking unique is its spirit. Whether it’s the warm, friendly welcome you’ll receive, the feeling of the outdoors, or the creative, independent personality of many of the town’s retailers: there is a spirit and vibrancy in the town that demands to be discovered.
Client Logo Breakdown
Dorking Billboard
Dorking Bag
Complementing the clean, angular logo is a geometric-style sans serif. Brandon Grotesque was popular in the 20s and 30s and subtly hints at the town’s heritage, but its unfussy, legible, elegant characters point to its future.
Four vibrant colours bring the Dorking brand to life; taking their inspiration from the town’s position at the foot of the Surrey Hills.
Dorking Cycle Race
At the end of July, the world’s greatest festival of cycling, Ride London, passed through the beautiful streets of Dorking, and the logo had its first major showcase as the riders and TV cameras swept through the town.
Charlotte Whitaker, Manager, Dorking Town Partnership
Dorking Town Partnership are delighted with the branding that zed created. Designed to represent all that Dorking has to offer the resident and the visitor economy, we feel it brilliantly captures the heart and spirit of the town. The team were fantastic, particularly since they had to consult with so many people, which they did thoroughly and with enthusiasm, managing our expectations throughout the process. We would not hesitate to recommend zed, not least because nothing was too much trouble.

Charlotte Whitaker, Manager, Dorking Town Partnership