DixonBaxi makes over Paddington Central with a brand that changes day to night

The placemaking brand is bought together with a “living sundial” – a graphic symbol that uses shadow and a changing palette to indicate day or night.

28 February 2023


Paddington Central, a British Land canalside location featuring office, residential, hotel, retail and leisure spaces, has received a new brand from DixonBaxi. DixonBaxi previously collaborated with property company British Land on what it called a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” rebranding Canada Water. Now, the brand consultancy has come up with an inventive new approach to placemaking for Paddington Central, looking to the lighting, pace and movement at the location itself to inspire the work.

Design director Leah Surynt explains how the team at DixonBaxi spent “days and nights” at Paddington Central, noting the way light moved on the surface of the canal, and how shadows interacted with people and buildings. This led the consultancy to want to capture “this layered, always changing feeling” through the brand, says Leah. The work also had to reflect the many faces the location takes on, from an office space in the day to a space for leisure, and how it moves between them.

This approach can be seen most clearly in the new logo – a P with a curved flourish and an exaggerated reflection. The shadow made by the P rotates clockwise across assets, to imitate the motion of a sundial. As the reflection moves, it takes on different attributes to “illuminate different facets of Paddington Central”. For example, it frequently comes alive as a ‘cut-out’ graphic, revealing the rippling of water in the canal. The brand’s palette also changes day to night, from a signature red – meant to convey a “flash of energy” – to deep tones for night and calm pastels for daytime.

Interestingly, the new logo doesn’t just replicate the direction of the sun. It also responds to the time of day; physical wayfinding emphasises shadows on surfaces, digital signage updates depending on the hour, and typographic installations react to sunlight and people by revealing stories and words. DixonBaxi says this is all done to suggest an immersive brand, but it also creates the sense of a living brand for a space that is equally lived in.

Typography reflects the water motif once more. “Maax Micro is used as the headline face, with its exaggerated curved ink traps echoing the water, while Atlas Typewriter is used for detail, almost like the glints of sunlight on the water,” DixonBaxi explains. One particular typographic layout seen in the brand creates the impression of letters floating on water.

Offering some more context behind the logo, designer Jasmine Welsh states: “We made different layered forms of the P from cardboard inspired by sundials and the amphitheatre at the heart of Paddington Central, and with the lights off, torches on, tried to capture the movement of light and shadow from all angles.”

GalleryDixonBaxi: Paddington Central (Copyright © British Land, 2023)

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DixonBaxi: Paddington Central (Copyright © British Land, 2023)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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