Billboard Design for BEC

A bespoke graphic mural for the Buzz Station construction site compound in Whitehaven, Cumbria.

Large-Format Print Design
Graphic Design + Illustration

Project Overview

The Whitehaven Bus Station opened in 1931, and closed in 2002, after 70 years of service to the local community. This prominent Whitehaven building was derelict for many years until local regeneration experts, BEC, began work on a £6.1million project to transform the site into a community hub and small business incubator, funded by BEC, Sellafield Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The construction phase of the Bus Station Project (given the working title The Buzz Station) began in 2019, with local contractor, Thomas Armstrong utilising the empty plot opposite the former Bus Station as their site compound, whilst construction of the new facility took place within the shell of the existing Bus Station building.

With the site compound in a prominent location at the entrance to the town, the team at BEC asked me to create a bespoke graphic mural to wrap around the construction compound (approx. 103m in length). The client wanted the mural to:

  • be a vibrant graphic design that would tell a clear narrative about the forthcoming development of the Buzz Station;
  • use the brand guidelines and colour palette from the client’s overarching North Shore Development Project;
  • incorporate the architects 3D-visualisations of the new development;
  • allow for visual splays and other existing visual obstacles such as fencing and signage;
  • provide space for comms details and stakeholder logos.

Project Approach

The project had to piggy-back on BEC’s existing brand for the North Shore Project, and also potentially lay the foundations for a future Buzz Station brand, without becoming a full-blown branding project. The digital, technological and creative aspirations of the Buzz Station suggested that a contemporary digital illustration style would be the best vehicle for the narrative.

The design concept behind the graphic mural began with the idea of a spark of imagination and a lightbulb moment: “Ideas often kindle each other, like electrical sparks” (Friedrich Engels).

The narrative grew from this spark, this business idea, and how it might progress through the Buzz Station, igniting more ideas on its journey. The idea grows into a small business making use of the fixed office accommodation, small business units, staff members; the final illustration would be representative of business growth and its eventual exit from the Buzz Station as it outgrows these startup premises.

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Project Results

The result was a graphic mural design which:

  • conveyed the functionality of the Buzz Station to passer by: the flexible office space, the meeting rooms, the mentoring, the education, the maker space and the food and drink offering.
  • told the story of a small business journey through the Buzz Station, from “a business idea into a business”, and “an entrepreneur into a company”.
  • incorporated the architects 3D-visualisations of the new development.
  • made allowances for visual splays at the compound's vehicular entrance, and other visual obstacles such as existing fencing and signage which had to remain in-situ.
  • incorporated the notional ‘golden thread’ that runs through the BEC branding as part of the bright spark narrative.
  • created visual interest and screened the site compound from the surrounding streets.
  • provided space for comms details and promoted stakeholders.
  • included a set of elevation drawings to aid in the production and installation of the final printed product.
  • included a notional lighting design which could be installed to illuminate the mural and provide an added element of visual interest at night.

The final design was printed onto a mesh banner material to reduce the wind loading in the blusery harbour-side location, and mounted onto the heras fence encircling the construction compound by local print firm POD.

The finished design was installed a few months before the national lockdowns and remained in place until the site compound was dismantled as the Bus Station neared completion. The client was very happy with the final design.

"I absolutely love what you have done and the professionalism you have applied to the project. A very heartfelt thank you from me and the team at BEC."
Michael Pemberton, CEO
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