Design agencies have created a new brand and a dedicated website for the Ropewalks area of Liverpool city centre as part of a marketing campaign.
The trendy area of bars, independent shops and apartments popular with students has received its own brand in the form of a black and white knot of rope. The website is aimed at establishing a clearer identity for the district to attract visitors and residents.
The work was commissioned by the Creative RopeWalks Stakeholders Group, including representatives from The Mersey Partnership, Liverpool City Council, local businesses and residents.
The brand was created by Uniform and the website designed by Digital Blah Blah. So far a small set of holding pages has gone live with more to follow in the coming weeks.
The area was used by 18th and 19th Century dock merchants for storage and ropemaking – the long straight streets were designed to allow ropes to be laid out and inspected. It was among the first to start regenerating in the early and mid 1990s, under Urban Splash and other local developers. Splash began life with the Liverpool Palace and Concert Square schemes in Ropewalks.
Christian Nielsen, senior urban designer at BDP Liverpool was based in Ropewalks until BDP moved recently to One Park West at Liverpool One. Nielsen said: "Ropewalks was developing into a residential district, but many of these apartments are either empty or rented out as short term serviced accommodation. It was traditionally a destination for alternative shopping, but Bold Street now has its own Tesco and it was also a great place to go out, which has become homogenised by chain bars.
"We (Liverpool) need to decide what we want Ropewalks to be. If it is to be a hedonistic party quarter for 18-30 Liverpudlians and out of towners, it has been somewhat successful. If it is to be something more distinctive, genuine and sustainable it is failing. There are still many great facets to the area, including FACT, Arena Studios, Parr Street studios, the businesses occupying the Vanilla and Tea Factories, independent stores such as News from Nowhere and alternative nightlife at Kazimier and Le Bateau, but as innovators such as Korova and Open Eye move out to other areas of the city and new businesses move in, we must ensure that the equilibrium does not swing too far away from the alternative, creative and enterprising spirit that made Ropewalks special in the first place."