Continuing my tour of Northumberland, while it’s still fresh in my mind, is a second hand bookshop in Alnwick.
Barter Books is a mine of second hand books from run-of-the-mill to tatty to unique and one off. Set within the now closed Alnwick train station, it’s big and very Aladdin’s cave like with old shelves crammed full of all sorts of books.
We visited at about 4pm to make use of the Cafe for coffee and cake, the seating for which is based in the old waiting rooms. Even at this time the store was busy with folks browsing the shelves or sitting on a sofa and reading.
It’s a charming place with seemingly no attempt to create itself a brand. Internal signage is hand made looking and different in every place. The bookshelves in the main hall are indicated with one type of text, but different fonts are used on the quotes that sit above visitors heads and further signs used as sub titles are different again.
Of course it doesn’t need anyone coming in and creating a slick logo for it, the higledy pigledy nature of the place is a brand in itself, and it’s no worse for it. There are large murals painted on various walls, which have a charm without being stunning and the Victorian station gives the place a beautiful backdrop with fancy ironwork struts and lace like edging along the roof line. As a nod to the past use of the building, along the top of some of the shelves runs a model railway.
There is one contrasting element to this simple charm, and that’s the fact that the now ubiquitous “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was discovered by staff at Barter Books. The full story is here, but in short, a folded up poster was found in a box of books from an auction. The owner loved it and decided it would fit well framed in the store, which of course it does. After it had been hanging for a while, visitors asked to buy it. Rather than sell the original they made some copies and after appearing in a guardian magazine article, sales went crazy. Thanks to so many duplicates appearing all over the web, it’s become a regular all over the place.
Happily Barter Books sell it at less than £4, so any copycats find it difficult to under cut the ‘original’. The poster is out of copyright and Barter don’t really have a claim to it, but you have to give them credit for making it an item that people want to buy.
So a great place to visit, make a detour if you’re up there, it’s close to Alnwick Gardens and Castle (more on these later I suspect!).
Pictures below, bigger on Flickr
Kieran Harrod is a Creative, Professional & Reliable Graphic Designer skilled in branding, print and web design, with bags of integrity.
Based in Derby, UK, Kieran set up his own business in May 2011 after practicing design since 1997 including 7 years as an in house designer and marketing manager for the UK arm of a multinational. Get in touch to get something designed for your business.
It was refreshing to work with an experienced, professional graphic designer who quickly understood what we wanted to achieve at Scoops Diner. We provided the bare bones and Kieran fleshed it out to create a spectacular end product design. Aside from the graphic design, I found Kieran to be a warm, genuine, humorous and down to earth chap who pro-actively gave positive and constructive advice on other aspects of our business. I have already and will continue to recommend Kieran to other businesses for his design services work.
Aftab Rehman - Scoops Diner
On a 600gsm stock my business cards are fabulous, really sturdy and thick, they also have a great feel to the finish. They also feature some of my fave projects to make a pocket portfolio!
When the ReST vulnerability hit the news, I was happy that my hosted websites were already safe.
At some point in the discussion of a new branding project, the client will almost always ask what files they expect to receive. At first, I found this an odd query, although perfectly valid, my assumption was alway that I’d supply every file they’d need, why would I design a logo and do anything less?
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