When Margate’s Dreamland reopened in 2015, it seemed like a beacon of seaside fun – a symbol of not only the Kentish town’s rapid regeneration, but of simpler, happier times in an era where “staycationing” was suddenly cool again.
The project was spearheaded by Hemingway Design, with the agency’s founder Wayne Hemingway a long-standing advocate for music, style and pleasures of yesteryear thanks to his second-hand clothing ventures and Vintage Festival events.
It seemed a great fit for the relaunch of the amusement park that had fallen into disrepair. The Dreamland renewal looked very promising – even against a backdrop of an admittedly limited budget – with a strong team that saw Hemingway Design work with Ray Hole Architects on the design of the site and M&C Saatchi to create the branding and tone of voice.
But sadly it wasn’t all plain sailing, and just over a year later, the park went into administration. Earlier this year, though, a new management team was brought in, as well as a £25million investment, and Dreamland reopened offering a totally overhauled proposition with new rides, art installations and a dynamic new food offering.
Studio Moross was brought in by Dreamland in March this year to create a number of unique brands for the park’s new food offerings and went on to create the umbrella brand for the space – billed ‘The Friendliest Food Court Ever’. It was a short project: the studio was given just two weeks to work on the umbrella brand and individual designs.
A different design was created for each offering: dalmations for pizza stand Pizzolino, a panda for the ‘Polite Panda’ Asian Food Hut and a very all-American script font and bubblegum pink for the Tail Spin bar and diner concession. Naturally, the umbrella branding device for such a friendly spot is a smiley face rendered in various bright colours.
The studio later designed some striking promotional posters that many Londoners will be familiar with. The posters look more like a festival campaign than one for a seaside resort – no coincidence considering Dreamland’s new focus on music, which has seen the park host acts like Gorillaz and Faithless.
The project has since expanded to designing a map for the park (a “very hard but very enjoyable” task, says Studio Moross founder Kate Moross), on-park marketing materials such as flyers and instructions, and a series of characters associated with details like membership benefits.
Moross describes the Dreamland project as “a dream project. It’s really fun and playful and isn’t taking itself too seriously. It all went really smoothly,” she says.
The nature of Dreamland’s revamped offer does seem a perfect match for Studio Moross – an agency renowned for making work that’s bright, colourful and packed to the gills with joy. With the park’s new focus on music, and a concert venue as well as new attractions like a roller disco, Moross says the studio’s branding for Parklife festival was “the work that got the work”. She also concedes that her love of Disney parks (she visits them four times each year “in a good year”) might have been a factor.
“There were a lot of things that needed to be communicated,” says Moross. “The new park had many offerings that weren’t quite as established in previous years – we needed to talk about live music, the roller disco, and also just having a fun day out. We had to do that in a modern way that was appropriate for a young and modern audience, as well as local residents and other people from across London and the South East.
“The brief was quite loose in terms of the creative, it was just important that we got certain messages across. They loved how dynamic the Parklife campaign was in using illustrated elements across everything,” she continues. Illustrator Mica Warren was commissioned to create the supporting illustrations for the 2017 launch campaign posters.
The new Dreamland designs mark a departure from the initial relaunch work, moving away from a copy and type-focused approach to a campaign that relies on numerous illustrated parts. According to Moross, illustration was a perfect solution, allowing Dreamland to convey many ideas and pieces of information in a single image. “You can show so many things in one poster without it being overwhelming,” says Moross. “There’s that duality it gives between being eye-catching and also being able to see everything at once.”