A brand new chapter
10 February 2017
Board Director Nick Riley tells the story of WCEC Architects, as a brand new identity is about to be launched.
Our practice was founded forty five years ago as Whittam + Cox, built off the back of predominantly retail projects, specifically supermarkets. This is a sector we remain very active in today. Jeff Whittam and Derek Cox started it all off in Dronfield Derbyshire (they are the W and C in the name). The two were joined later by Tim Cocker and then in 1985 merged with Cedric Ellis and Burt Clayton (the E and C), a practice of a similar profile in Brighton; the two companies became ‘Whittam, Cox, Ellis, Clayton’.
During the early 1990’s the two companies subsequently separated and a new generation of ownership emerged through Alex Wall, Ashley Turner and James Kemp. At this time the practice became known as WCEC Architects; a shorter name, but one which has proven difficult to say and remember for some.
Today, WCEC Group is a limited company, managed at board level by Ashley Turner, Alex Wall, Dave Savage and myself, supported by a wider team of shareholding directors.
Over the last few years we have enjoyed substantial growth and diversification, with new sectors established and work/offices in different geographical regions. Last year, as part of an ongoing assessment of the strategic positioning and future direction of the company, we decided it was time to refresh our image to better reflect the company we are today.
So we started working with brand consultants Rizk McCay. We knew we wanted to change, but we needed some help to guide our thinking. We could identify some of our current weaknesses and aspirations for the new brand, but wanted to make sure we got it right. I think it’s easy for Architects to believe that because we are creative, our skills can extend to branding; I don’t believe this is right. An effective brand goes way beyond the logo! Rizk McCay have been a great team to work with, they helped us to distil who we are. We’ve been on an insightful and educational journey with Rizk McCay and I believe that our new brand has much greater meaning and depth because of their knowledge of the subject of branding and the creative ability to interpret that into a new visual identity.
Our objective was to create a brand which related to us specifically, and our profession. We also wanted to convey a much stronger message about our people and values as a practice. We didn’t want another website which simply showcased our work, we wanted to highlight what we actually sell to our clients: our skills, knowledge, experience and personality.
In addition to ensuring our brand conveys the right message to people outside of our business, we want to use the brand to further reinforce our exceptional team culture internally, ensuring everyone understands and communicates our messages in a consistent manner.
At this point, I’d like to reinforce that behind the brand, our practice remains the same. Our trading entity will still be WCEC Group Limited. That means all of our accounting, appointments, insurances etc remain totally unchanged.
Our name will change along with our visual identity which will be completely different too. We will launch a new website and an entirely new suite of stationery/marketing material. Our new brand will be launched very soon, so please look out for it.
I really hope you’ll share in celebrating and promoting our launch and new look.
This is a big moment for us; a brand new chapter. We will be Whittam Cox Architects.