10 Things that make the North great

Inspired by our recent Packaging Design work for North Chocolates – a range of small batch, gourmet chocolate bars featuring illustrations of some of the great things the North has to celebrate and the current Great Exhibition of the North – a celebration of the innovative creative culture of the North of England, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to ask Team Decide (based in Newcastle, London, and Bristol) what makes the north so special in their opinion. After all, you don’t have to live and work in the north to appreciate how special it is. We picked the first 10 choices from our team of 45 at random out of a hat. Do you agree with our choices?

The Bridges. No other view like it from the train when crossing the River Tyne. Draws gasps of appreciation from visitors seeing them or passing through for the first time on the way to Edinburgh.  LESLEY – Associate Director, Design Management

The best thing about the North is being on the doorstep of some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK, but without the crowds of the South – they’re a well-kept secret. Oh, and the people! Being from the Midlands originally I made the North my home as I love the people (and did I mention the beaches…?! ROSY – Client Services Director

The positive northern ‘can do’ attitude which has led to a culture of innovation – from Stephenson’s Rocket and Cragside Hall (the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity) to the fact that the area is now one of the leading digital hubs in the UK for game development.  JO T – Head of Shopper Marketing (operating out of Bristol)

Sage Gateshead – one of the best sounding music venues in the country and with an unmatched diverse programme of events and education.  GARY – Artwork Systems Specialist

The Ouseburn. A hidden gem (recently referred to as the Shoreditch of the north by a leading national newspaper), a creative community set on a tributary of the River Tyne. Relaxed, chilled vibe – the perfect place for a day or night out. Pop into Ernest to check out the Star Wars figures collection, then on past ‘The Off Quay’ music rehearsal studios where the muffled thump of drum and bass is often heard thudding out across the lane,  to The Kiln for homemade cake and to watch the potters at work, an artisan beer at Arch 2, then a wholesome dish at Newcastle’s only fully vegan pub The Ship, before checking out the artists’ studios or one of the up and coming bands at The Cluny or Cobalt Studios before climbing the steps (past the goats in the paddock) to the Cumberland Arms (Michael Palin’s favourite northern pub) for a nightcap.

(Oh, and I’d better name check my cousin Neil Marshall, writer and film director of movies such as Dog Soldiers, Centurion and Hellboy, and Game of Thrones, Westworld and Lost in Space for NetFlix).  GRANT – Creative Director

Newcastle. An arts and culture-rich, metropolitan city that’s near the sea? The dream!  LOUISE – Project Manager (operating out of DECIDE London)

Since I’ve moved the best thing is the weather, it’s like being abroad!  LYNTON –  Designer (recently moved to DECIDE Newcastle from Norwich)

Barring the obvious suggestion of Pease Pudding a.k.a. ‘Geordie Hummus’… the best thing about the north has to be the people!! You won’t get a friendlier bunch.  ANTHONY – Senior Account Manager

The golden, sandy beaches. We have some of the best in the whole British Isles. Great in the summer but even better on a crisp, cold winter’s day to blow the cobwebs away!  MICHAEL – Associate Director, Strategy & Planning

Pies, just good old proper pies (plus the fact that despite living right on the coast I’m only half an hour’s drive from some of the most beautiful countryside in the country!)  SHAUN – Print Production Manager

And here’s a random selection of some of the suggestions which didn’t make the first 10 out of the hat which we felt still deserved a mention…

It’s the home of Earl Grey (delicious tea!). Edward Hodges Baily, the sculptor who created the statue of Earl Grey on top of the famous monument in Newcastle city centre, also created the statue of Lord Nelson for the column in Trafalgar Square

Baltic – largest contemporary art institution of its kind in the world!

The Angel of the North – the iconic sculpture recognised the world over-designed by Antony Gormley.

Northumbria University (where Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer of Apple, studied Industrial Design)

Ant & Dec – sure they’ll be back together again soon!

The Tyneside Cinema (independent Art Deco style cinema designed and built in 1937 by Dixon-Scott, great uncle of film director Ridley Scott)

The Town Moor (larger than Hampstead Heath and Hyde Park put together!)

The International Centre for Life – home of world-leading scientific research

Hadrian’s Wall – the epic World heritage site reaching 73 miles from the east to the west coast.

Sting – the Wallsend-born singer-songwriter has sold over 100 million records worldwide.

Butch Cassidy – a little tenuous this fact, but interesting none the less…the mother of the notorious American train and bank robber (who was immortalised in the film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford), was born in Jesmond.