Brand identity for a young architecture practice based in the south east
TaylorHare Architects deliver projects at a variety of scales, from one-off houses for exacting private clients to large mixed-use schemes for private developers and investment groups. Having started up the business in 2014 and responding to the demand of their services, the partners wanted a visual identity created that covered logo development, business cards, letterheads, website and an overarching system that could be further applied to drawing sheets and other collateral. The brand needed not only to establish the practice and enable growth but importantly reflect who they are and their approach to their work.
Being designers themselves, it was important to work closely alongside the team; from visiting the practice and exploring themes via informal workshops through to iterations on the logo development, testing typefaces and exploring different papers. Although more gradual than most projects, this inclusive approach meant many opportunities were available for careful and considered personalisation of the brand, leading to and ensuring ownership and permanence of the finished system.
After all, how often to architects rebrand?
A spectrum of subtle architectural cues and personality of the practice can be found throughout the new identity. The logo marque conveys a simple, confident and structural feel that can be perceived either structurally as beams and braces or spatially via layout and whitespace. The printed collateral plays on the themes of light and shade, precise form and natural texture neatly combined in a manner that has a high yet un-pretentious production quality that feels true and representative of the practice.
The marque plays and explores the geometric qualities of practice's initials by rendering them as uppercase letterforms with stencil cut detail, resulting in a simple, confident short hand for the brand. Serifs were incorporated to the top of the T and bottom of the A to balance the bold modern lines, help with legibility and give a gentle nod to tradition.
To offset and soften the marque slightly, we employed Maison Neue as the typeface. Being a modern grotesque sans serif, it has an unmistakably contemporary feel that keeps good legibility and contrast when printed as well as on digital displays.
Discover and iterate
With a keen interest in the branding process, I involved the team in stages that are often not seen by the client; from minor iterations on the development of the logo through to whittling down the most appropriate typefaces and papers. Being able to explain the rationale behind decisions face-to-face, receive feedback and also allow for tangential exploration meant all decisions were made with the confidence and personality of the team.
Light & texture
With printed communications, core themes of light and texture were achieved through a mix of paper weight, material quality, colour and the choice of print finish.
Due to the strength of the marque, it was the perfect element to explore via light. With a sharp deboss and clear foil this gave us the opportunity to represent it in a way that was subtle and also interactive.
Being a discipline deeply routed in materiality, we could explore this through tactile paper. Papers were chosen that had a strong materialistic quality, such as the stock used for the letterheads and compliment slips. Made by the paper manufacturer Favini, 15% of the paper consists of recycled organic materials such as citrus fruits, corn and coffee. This not only gives it an interesting texture but also aligns with the ecologically conscious approach of the practice.
The design of the website follows the same typographic grid developed for the stationary, balancing the strong brand marque on the left of the header with the core navigation on the right. Page layouts alternate between full-bleed imagery and well proportioned text, set in the Maison Neue typeface.
To maintain a high production quality online, subtle transition animations were employed and white space was used to create a visual hierarchy and present work in a clutter free and focussed manner.
What they said...
As notoriously difficult clients with an obsessive attention to detail it was imperative that we choose a designer who not only shared that ethos but embraced the same infectious rigour and stalwart resistance to elevate the ordinary.
Alaric surpassed our expectations from the outset, not least in his willingness to keep us closely involved in every step of the design process, but more importantly in his ability to listen carefully and tentatively to create an eloquent yet beautifully simple design, one that is echoed in the subtlety of our approach to architecture.Chris Taylor
Partner, TaylorHare Architects