On June 10th we will be launching our new branding and website – an exciting moment! In the first of a series of occasional guest blogs the locally-based designer Nick Stone tells us why he enjoys working on heritage-related projects such as ours:

A lot of the time, work is what it is for most of us; a method of earning enough to pay living costs and hope there’s enough left for bits and bobs that make life enjoyable. Occasionally, when you’re mining a seam, a job comes along which was made for you. Lately I’ve been lucky enough to work on quite a few projects which exploit my interests, so being approached by Caroline and Natasha to develop the new branding and website for an organisation which involves the words Norfolk and archaeology in its title is a peak one of those moments.

I work a lot in heritage related projects these days, probably part of the reason I do is, when I’m not, I tend to be found wandering about in fields staring at stuff that’s hardly there or occasionally just about visible, or I’m staring at maps or poring over old reports, digital or analogue, or I’m talking about heritage online and occasionally offline too.

We are terrifically fortunate in Norfolk, our landscape is a huge palimpsest. You only need to look at a map to get a sense of this huge depth of human activity spread out in front of us, the huge number of interlaced layers of life from our cousin’s Palaeolithic footprints on the beach through to the late holocene scatter of Second World War concrete and plastics in our fields.

Getting out and looking at sites is a brilliant way to start finding out about our collective past. This is something I’ve done and advocated for a long time, There is a great deal of pleasure to be had, in my case, walking, photographing and writing about it; getting lost down country lanes, the ancient nodes of our settlement and their often clue-like names, the capillary networks of our roads and trackways, the soft waves of our fields and below them are all kinds of hidden charms.

At some time or another I believe I’ve visited all the NAT sites, years ago, perhaps indeed without realising they were. Caistor St Edmund has long been a favourite place to wander. Burnham Norton is fascinating – especially in a storm, it turned out on my last rather damp but atmospheric visit; St Benet’s Abbey, hauntingly beautiful sitting in the ever shifting waterland and cloudscapes around it, an idyll for artists; Tasburgh a partial enigma, and the curiosity of Bloodgate Hill, both sites cloaked in pasture, almost invisible in the landscape, just hinting at the hidden below.

It’s been both nice and strange peeling back the surface of these remarkable places and having a good old rummage about in the layers of information, really digging into what it’s all about.

Branding and design is in essence a dynamic, it starts with a journey to understanding something, then it becomes about how to present that to an audience. Adding clarity to how NAT presents itself, increasing visibility, and creating a vessel that allows clear messaging to develop; allowing people to see NAT and its function in the continuing care, stewardship, and interpretation of these very special sites, both the visible, and the ones safely asleep beneath the turf. Hopefully we’ve assisted in developing a perception of the past for the future.

Nick Stone, Creative Director, Starfish

Personal site https://www.invisibleworks.co.uk/

Business site http://www.starfishlimited.co.uk/

Huge thanks to Nick Stone who has invested large amounts of time and energy into producing the new branding and website, which will go live on June 10– please do take the time to have a look at it then! Over the next few months we will gradually be rolling out the branding across our sites and in our publications and social media. CD & NH