The project

The Royal Exchange Manchester was once the epicentre of the world’s cotton and textile trade. After an investment group purchased the buildings and arcades, Bert was commissioned to create a destination brand for business, retail, leisure, urban living and culture.


Brand Strategy.
Brand Identity.
Marketing Collateral.
Environment Art Direction.


The process

We started by using CoCreation to understand the history of the building, the investment group's vision for the destination, what their ideal customers looked like in each category, and why those customers should care. Using CoCreation meant we were able to engage colleagues, partners, customers and prospects, putting them right at the heart of the identity development process. CoCreation and the additional research made available to us uncovered a building with a truly rich heritage; and a wider reaching national significance than we could imagine.



Building a positioning for The Royal Exchange Manchester based upon its rich heritage and legacy gave the building an enduring character that few buildings in Manchester could match. The strategy we developed is helping reinstate The Royal Exchange as one of the most important and culturally significant destinations within the city, and a magnet for the curious and culturally engaged.


Visual identity & TOV

The visual identity takes visual cues from the building’s unique structures, as drawn by its numerous architects, to feed the brand architecture. The core colour palette was formed from the building’s bygone currency; cottons, silks and gold, with a secondary palette designed to complement and add vibrancy to the system. The Royal Exchange TOV was developed to feel human and conversational, paying homage to its Northern roots.


Digital experience

A seamless digital experience was crucial in guiding audiences to the right place, whether that's learning about the history of the space, booking their next visit to the theatre or exploring their next retail / office space.


Art direction

Our art direction pushed the Royal Exchange team to re-imagine the building's way finding and signage, creating a system that stayed true to the integrity of the space and maintained consistency throughout the experience. Our work also provided guidance and structure around creating powerful and inspiring imagery that would resonate with relevant audiences, spanning experience, retail and office imagery.


Print communication

Our work extended to the design of core collateral and assets spanning print, digital, social, outdoor advertising and merchandise.