The birth of Peak Mountaineering

1st Aug 2012

Recently, when I turned up at a campsite driving the Peak Mountaineering Caddy, someone commented on what a cool company name and logo we have.  That happens quite a lot and, because we are very proud of it, we certainly love hearing those comments.  The conversation then often leads on to questions about how the Peak Mountaineering brand came about and that’s a longer story.  But, as I’m now sitting in that very van with time on my hands, here it is....

A long time ago I bought a beautiful t-shirt with a view of some mountains and a swirly sun picture printed on the back.  I really liked the feel and fun nature of the picture and especially loved the way the sun was depicted.  It seemed to effortlessly conjure up the reasons I loved the mountains.  The t shirt got old, faded and threadbare but it was always my favourite.

When we decided to start a company I  felt a strong brand was vital but I didn’t know where to start.  I went to see a designer and took along some inspirational items that I thought might inform a logo design – the t-shirt was one of them.  The designer,  a very talented man called Paul Normington (Norm), got me to lay out the items and write on a whiteboard some key words that would describe my vision for the company.  Fun, professional, inspirational and a variety of other words went on the list and I saw him keep glancing from me to the t-shirt. 

Three days later he emailed some logo ideas and the first one that flashed up on my monitor was just what I was looking for.  It was the bones of the current logo.  There was some tweaking (mainly the colours) and we ended up with what we have today.  I was sure it would work but sent it to everyone I knew to get their opinion – they all loved it too. The logo was born.  It says everything I want it to and I think it’s perfect for our business.  The t-shirt is now hanging in an oak frame in our office – an everyday reminder of the journey.

The company also needed a name.  I’d bounced loads of ideas around and, although lots were good, none were perfect.  We are a worldwide mountaineering company and I wanted the name to reflect.  We are also based in the Peak District and run many of our courses there so I felt that should be clear too.  We also work with lots of group types.  I was close to sealing it several times but wasn’t quite sure.  A week after seeing the logo ideas a group of us were making a southwards dash after a winter climbing weekend in Scotland. 

We were passing the time with chat about all kinds of things before the conversation turned to the company I was trying to form.  Ideas flowed and there were some good (and some ridiculous!) suggestions.  Suddenly, the legendary Keith Todd shouted out the name Peak Mountaineering.  The car went quiet, glances were exchanged and time seemed to slow.  The Toddster had nailed it and everyone knew it. 

As soon as I got home I emailed the name to Norm and that very evening he sent the finished logo.  He’d played with a few fonts, changed a few sizes and tried different orientations but he’d most certainly got there.  The evolution of a brand was the work of a few talented people and the inspiration that came from a climbing trip and a very cool garment.  It’s perfect and we know it……but please don’t stop telling us how good it is!