Storysmash - a brand in a day and digital marketing strategy for Nottingham City Libraries

By Alex Traska on 22nd Jun

The timeline was tight - the Makermet team had just five days from initial brief to creative reveal. Read how a "hackathon" approach helped creativity thrive and made it possible to realise a creative product, signed-off with no further changes from the client, in just a single day.

Write. play. enjoy!

Under a pioneering partnership between Nottingham City Libraries, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature and The National Videogame Foundation, Storysmash is a programme of computer game writing workshops and masterclasses featuring high-profile writers across five key gaming hotspots at Nottingham Libraries from June 2017.

During the build up to the launch of this project, aimed at engaging young people and young adults with reading and creative writing via text-based adventure games built on the Twine platform, Makermet have worked with the client to deliver a brand identity with a range of print outputs, a digital marketing strategy and support with their social media engagement.

Storysmash Booklet Busybg
The final Storysmash logotype, as seen on the 20pp brochure

A brand in a day: brand consultancy and brand identity "hackathon"

Behind the scenes, the client had settled on the "Storysmash" name, the "Write. Play. Enjoy!" tagline and work had already begun on the development of their website. To bring their concept together, they were in need of a vibrant, stylistic brand identity aimed at the programme's broad potential audience; Nottingham's 11-25 year olds, particularly those who perhaps did not consider themselves interested in reading or writing.

By engaging a "hackathon" approach in the studio it was possible to deliver a well thought out creative response very quickly. By clearing aside all other work for a day, clearly delegating tasks and setting a number of achievable milestones throughout the day.

Before creative development of the brand identity began, we had established that the identity should...

  • appeal to the particularly broad target audience of 11-25 year olds by sharing visual themes with contemporary sports, gaming and activity brands?
  • visually represent narrative or storytelling in some way
  • excite and inspire
  • engage parents, care givers, support workers and youth workers in encouraging young people to attend
  • feature additional visual assets built around the "write", "play" and "enjoy" themes
  • work in many contexts; large format graphics, print materials and digital communication (particularly social media)

Each designer had two hours to develop a basic creative concept, before presenting to the rest of the team.?

With a narrative and adventure games in mind, the concept we agreed to pursue was using a maze as a visual concept and a modified, maze-style typeface for the logo type.?The maze in the letters of the word "story" complete themselves as you read left to right, whilst "smash" in bold white sans-serif maintains impact and simplicity. The yellow call out shouts "write. play. enjoy" across the marque, and introduces a flash of colour and a visual asset that can be recycled for key calls to action in print work.

Storysmash Writeplayenjoy

The Twine platform (used in the programme to build the adventure games), and computer games controllers inspired the three geometric themes for "write", "play" and "enjoy", which can be broken up and used as visual assets on collateral produced by the client's in-house team.

Following presentation, and with all partners on board with the brand identity, our teams discussed the brief for the Storysmash printed brochure and vinyl graphics for the wall and windows of a room at the front of Nottingham's Central Library, which were produced in collaboration with the client, our copywriter and the Makermet team.

Storysmash Popup Wall Window
Storysmash pop-up banner and window graphics at Nottingham Central Library

Social media strategy and segmentation

Our digital marketing strategy proposed that their #storysmashuk hashtag should provide access to a back-catalogue of content with messaging developed by the copywriter we'd introduced to the project that aimed to hype-up the primary target audience of 18-20 year olds. Various calls to action were developed to drive attendee registrations, encourage people to "tell someone they know" (especially to those 12-year olds generally not hanging around on Twitter!) and around milestone events leading up to the launch day featuring Fast Show writer Charlie Higson.

Storysmash Write Phone

Our digital marketing executive, Molly, worked directly with the client to identify ways of reaching target audience segments on Facebook (via carefully planned sponsored and boosted posts) and Twitter (via well researched hashtags and @tags to relevant organisations and individuals).

The client was provided with...

  • A general awareness social media campaign plan, including copy, images and a shared Google Sheets document for their internal teams to follow
  • A launch event social media campaign plan, including copy, images and a shared Google Sheets document for their internal teams to follow
  • Support to their teams responsible for posting content and generating content?

If you'd like to know more about how we managed these campaign strategies, get in touch.


There's a fine balance between too much time and too little. Working within a demanding time frame forces you to develop faith in your creative decisions. When you do have plenty of time on your hands you should always take a regular sanity check; "is it finished?".

Working with Makermet has enabled a quick project turnaround with a wide range of resources created to deadline. More importantly the team have understood key targets within the project brief and been able to build this into project outputs that work with us achieving these targets.

Sarah Coulson, Library Commercial Lead Nottingham City Libraries

The brand identity and social media content delivered for Storysmash will help the programme grow over the next year. We look forward to its inclusion in the GameCity event later this year and to supporting Nottingham City Libraries and partners with future collaboration on Storysmash and new projects.

You can register for Storysmash events and masterclasses via Eventbrite.

Talk to us about brand identity development and digital marketing

If you're planning on launching a new public project, initiative, or programme we'd love to hear about it. We've worked on a number of projects within the Nottingham community, and we're looking to transfer our experience to similar projects nationwide. Recent work of this nature has included...

  • Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature - ?Planning, developing and launching their brand new website, and on-going support with print and digital projects - more info on our blog post
  • HIDDEN?- An independent shopping campaign, application platform and printed maps produced for Invest in Nottingham, The Creative Quarter, Nottingham BID and Nottingham City Council - more info on our blog post
  • Invest in Nottingham / London to Nottingham 2017 -?Print design, print consultancy and infographic development for Invest in Nottingham's 2017 campaign aimed at bringing new skills, new people and new businesses to our city's burgeoning creative, life-science, engineering, fintech and finance

Click here to get in touch via email or telephone.

Or?find out more about what we do.

About the author


Alex Traska

Founder / Creative Director

Alex's works with clients as brand consultant and strategist, and with the in-house team and a large network of collaborators as creative director and art director.

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