ILFRACOMBE has reinvented itself with a new image and logo designed to help attract more high spending visitors to the town. The new Ilfracombe brand was presented to many of the town s tourism and business people at a launch night in the Landmark Theatre

ILFRACOMBE has reinvented itself with a new image and logo designed to help attract more high spending visitors to the town.

The new Ilfracombe brand was presented to many of the town's tourism and business people at a launch night in the Landmark Theatre on Thursday.

The new logo - with a distinctive swirl above the I and a wealth of glossy marketing images - are all free for anyone to download from the internet and use for any marketing or publicity associated with Ilfracombe. Along with it is a "brand manual" explaining how to get the most from the brand and the guidelines which need to be followed.

The idea is to give the town an instantly recognisable, consistent image to sell to visitors instead of the diluted and sometimes mixed message sent out in the past by everyone going their own way.

The logo itself is available in different "corporate colours" and consists of the town's name in rounded, friendly lower case letters, a swirl dotting the "i" and the words "Curious Coastal Charm" beneath.

The whole branding package was produced by North Devon consultants Fresh Bread Marketing following a brainstorming session in the summer with representatives from Ilfracombe's tourism, retail and business communities as well as Ilfracombe Town Council and North Devon Council.

Tessa Martin of Fresh Bread seemed to win over most, if not all, of the audience during her presentation at the Landmark launch on Thursday as she explained it was "time to turn up the volume in Ilfracombe."

She said they had decided to narrow the message down to promoting Ilfracombe as a unique "quirky harbour town" and inviting visitors to "take another look and be surprised."

These themes include the many things the town has to offer - its rugged beauty, history, independent shops, outdoor pursuits and its "arty" and individual character.

"In recent years Ilfracombe hasn't delivered terribly well as a resort," she explained. "Not least because it does not have a large beach, but also because inadvertently or otherwise, it has targeted the lowest spending sector of the market. There's an opportunity here to target a new market, higher spending groups such as couples and young families.

"Ilfracombe is a fresh, intriguing place to visit with an impressive landscape. It is steeped in and continues to offer a maritime experience and has a strong cultural theme with a fascinating Victorian heritage.

"The new logo, with its idiosyncratic 'swirl' above the 'i' indicates intrigue, mystery and drama expressed with a spot of humour and fun too. It also reflects the twists and turns of the landscape and might conjure up thoughts of the seaside, sea, an ice-cream, the harbour and fish."

Representing Ilfracombe's business community, Ron Ley, director of Charterwell Homes added:

"I remember when Ilfracombe was a very successful family resort. We had a railway that delivered hundreds of people into the town every day.

"Today our town has to compete at a different level if we are going to regenerate those traditions.

"We have so much going for us and what we need to do is share that message with other people. More businesses in the holiday industry are catering for the higher end of the tourist market and proving it's a successful one to go for.

"Please remember to use the brand where you can, it's free and you don't have to pay for it."

The audience heard how other applications for the brand and logo could include t-shirts, hats, shopping bags, on products such as boxes of confectionary and postcards.

Reaction from the watching business people, councillors and other community figures appeared very positive.

Rob McFarlane, chairman of Ilfracombe High Street Traders, said the brand had been created for everyone to use.

"It's now up to us to start using it with our products," he said.

Ilfracombe Town Councillor Frank Pearson added: "I needed convincing and I am now convinced. For me, the little swirl on the logo is the thing that makes it, because Ilfracombe is a place for spotting porpoises, dolphins and fish and that's what it says to me."

The Mayor, Cllr Philip Webb, said: "Thos of us who live in Ilfracombe realise what a wonderful place our town is, however, it is extremely important we project the great aspects of our town to potential visitors across the country and beyond."

To access the logos and images go to www.theilfracombecentre.co.uk and click the "About Ilfracombe" heading.

n AT the launch of the new Ilfracombe brand are the Mayor, Philip Webb, Leader of North Devon Council Des Brailey, North Devon MP Nick Harvey, creator of the new ferry link Chris Marrow, Tessa Martin of Fresh Bread consultants and Ron Ley.