Jazz St. Louis is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance the art of jazz through live performance, education and outreach. The organization runs Jazz at the Bistro, considered one of the top ten jazz venues in the United States. Each year, the organisation holds a fundraising gala to support performances and educational outreach. The 2016 gala, “New York, New York”, featured a headline performance by Jon Batiste and Stay Human. Our design for the event’s invitation and program is a contemporary take on classic jazz graphics, using silkscreened neons for the invite and a tone-on-tone bronze foil for the program cover.
Schema Projects is a Brooklyn-based gallery that exhibits works on paper, such as drawings, prints, sketchbooks, artists books, limited editions, models and diagrams. Founded by artist Mary Judge, the gallery aims to highlight art forms on paper and give exposure to the role of drawing in the creative process.
Our studio designed the gallery’s identity, print materials and collateral, including a custom typeface, stationery, exhibition cards, ads, signage, invites and totes. The identity design reflects the idea behind the gallery’s name, where a guide or underlying schema is broken by text that’s positioned freely within this framework. Since the focus of the gallery should remain on the works presented rather than its own identity, we developed an understated system that is both sophisticated yet unconventional to reflect its position as a younger, less established, artist-run gallery.
We designed a custom typeface in a single weight for the logo and use across all materials – based on a classic grotesk typeface with unique alterations made to letterforms, such as square brackets on j and t and a round dot. Subtle imperfect elements create a contemporary feel, and reinforce the idea of an underlying schema that is not always matched in reality.
The former CEO of Ulta Beauty, Lyn Kirby, took the helm of Beauty Brands in 2014 and appointed our studio to lead a major rebranding. We designed the brand’s new identity and retail prototype with the intent of elevating the value-based chain into an upscale, yet accessible beauty destination – focusing on expertise and a sophisticated, modern American beauty sensibility.
A retail and salon concept founded in the mid 1990s, Beauty Brands has been reinvented as a contemporary shop-salon-spa concept focused on bringing together a curated edit of the best independent labels and established brands, as well as offering high-quality beauty treatments across its 60+ stores. We set out to create a natural and intelligent alternative to the statement-making aesthetic offered by competitors while maintaining an essential dose of femininity. The complete system included the brand’s identity, retail and e-commerce packaging, retail signage and graphics, printed matter and art direction for advertising and campaigns, with photography shot by Matthew Sprout. A brand book, introducing the new concept to the industry features original watercolors by illustrator Marcel George.
Our transformation of the retail environment required major alterations to existing locations and the complete design of new stores. The new prototypical design moves the salon-spa to the front of the space alongside the shop (before it was hidden in the back) to showcase its focus on expert treatments on one side of the store, and retail products and experiential feature areas on the other side. New elements introduced into the retail space include the Beauty Bench, a long bar for tutorials and events at the front of the store; a Beauty Concierge for booking treatments; and a series of Beauty Bars for complexion, brows, hair and fragrance – making the store an interactive gathering space where visitors can learn, socialize and experiment.
Clear visibility through the space and maximizing daylight were prioritized to breakdown the large retail space so it feels calm and ordered. The challenge was to create an index of different brands that sat next to one another within a wider environment. We looked at great library precedents, galleries and museums of objects to help us define a balanced, almost curatorial display of multiple brands. The concept can be shopped entirely on one’s own with no need for assistance, but includes many spaces for expert guidance and advice when needed – allowing visitors to tailor the experience to suit their needs.
Natural materials and a warm, light palette reflect the retailer’s sensibility. Contrasting terrazzo floors were used in the shop and salon-spa to differentiate these two areas. A hand-plastered wall in the brand’s signature soft peach color extends the length of the main route and white oak fixtures and screens are used in feature spaces. The natural and light interior invites customers of all ages and presents an understated, yet sophisticated take on modern beauty.
In 2006, the Gateway Foundation transformed two vacant blocks in downtown St. Louis to create Citygarden, a highly acclaimed urban sculpture park featuring works by leading contemporary and twentieth-century artists. Open 24 hours a day with no fences or barriers, Citygarden encourages visitors to interact with the sculptures in a way almost never seen: to touch, even climb on, the works if they so choose. The garden was the culmination of the Foundation’s two decades of work placing sculptures by internationally renowned artists in public spaces throughout the region.
Combining captivating photographs taken over a two-year period with scholarly texts, this book documents each work and the environment in which it stands – from busy urban streets to suburban green spaces. With a focus on the relationship between sculpture, place, and people, it offers a rarely depicted view of such significant works, not in a museum or gallery, but as integral to the diverse landscape and activities of the city.
Appointed to oversee editorial direction and design the book, we led the project from inception – commissioning writers, editors, photography and hand-drawn maps – ultimately securing a publication partnership with Prestel for international distribution.
The book includes essays by Director of MIT’s List Visual Arts Center Paul Ha; Dean of Graduate Studies at RISD Patricia Phillips; author Robert Duffy; Dean and Professor of Architecture at Fay Jones School of Architecture, University of Arkansas, Peter MacKeith; and landscape architect Warren Byrd. Photographer Ross Mantle photographed the collection and London-based artist J. Maizlish Mole created two detailed hand-drawn maps of the garden and city that record his experiences visiting each sculpture over the summer.
We were commissioned by the Saint Louis Art Museum to design wayfinding and signage for its expansion by David Chipperfield Architects. The original and main building, designed by Cass Gilbert, was built as one of the exhibition pavilions for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Significant growth in the collection’s contemporary artworks led to a major commission to expand the museum. The new pavilion sits with understatement in the landscape, set back within a grove of trees beside the original Beaux Arts building.
Our brief was to develop a wayfinding scheme that unites the original museum with the new modern wing, creating one system to be used throughout both spaces. In keeping with the sensibility of the space, signage is executed with simplicity and restraint, integrated into the building’s materials for unobtrusive, yet clear navigation. For navigational signage and room identifications, type is silkscreened onto interior surfaces or panels of blackened metal. The donor wall, located within the entry vestibule, was specially crafted in Venetian plaster with sponsor names cut in polished stainless steel and embedded by hand. Exterior building signage is cast into the concrete plinths of the landscaped forecourt.
Based in Detroit, Art Van Furniture is a leading home retailer in the Midwest. We were commissioned to develop the brand identity and packaging for Rise, a new collection of bedding featuring 37.5 technology – a natural fiber that regulates body heat and humidity, originally created for performance apparel and used by brands such as North Face and Adidas. In an exclusive partnership with 37.5, Art Van set out to launch an upscale collection of “performance” bedding that helps active individuals achieve a more perfect sleep environment.
While this collection of 37.5 Tech bedding was the foundation for the new brand, we established a strategy where a greater diversity of products – all related to healthy sleep – could be introduced under the Rise brand name over time. The new brand, with the tag-line “Sleep smart. Live smart.”, represents an intelligent, yet nurturing modern sleep lifestyle. We oversaw all brand development – creating the identity, customer facing messaging, icons to explain the science behind products and packaging. Typography, icons and colors were designed to carefully balance cues of performance along with softer, more comforting cues of good sleep. We developed a brand guide to help the company’s internal design team launch the new brand across different media.
Dr. Scholl’s launched the Original Exercise Sandal in 1965. Sold in drugstores as a way to tone legs, the sandal became an iconic 60s fashion accessory when worn by Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy – representing a new, carefree and rebellious way of dressing.
Fifty years later and with recent attention from Marc Jacobs and other fashion labels, Dr. Scholl’s asked us to tell the story behind their iconic sandal and reinvent its modern-day image to be relevant to a more sophisticated fashion audience. To do so, we wanted to convey the brand’s legacy of free-spirited fashion for intelligent rebels. We designed an illustrated booklet that tells the story of the sandal’s origins and the fashionable women who wear the shoes today. The booklet was presented with a series of postcards featuring photographs from the brand’s archives. The booklet cover line, “When does a SANDAL cause a SCANDAL?” was letterpressed on the front-side of the invitation to preview the new collection.
We renamed the collection The Original’s Sandal and created a new brand marque that was silkscreened on shoe bags and used across printed matter. A red running stitch through the booklet and painted red edge on the invitation reference the classic sandal’s red strap. The typography visually expresses the nuances of the writing, playfully bringing to life select words and phrases. Materials and production methods were carefully considered to create a sophisticated yet humble set of objects that reflected the quality and modest origins of this unexpected fashion brand. The design conveys the sandal’s quirky elegance, following tradition, yet breaking with convention.
We were commissioned to create a long-range Strategic Plan and Redevelopment Blueprint for uptown Mt. Sterling, a rural town of 2,000 located in Brown County, Illinois. Working with citizens and civic groups, we carried out a comprehensive study of the city’s history, built environment and planning, and potential revitalization opportunities.
The Redevelopment Blueprint offers a detailed plan for a phased revitalization over the next twelve years. Covering projects in the public and private sector, it sets out a clear strategy and timeline for improvements to architecture, streetscapes, public spaces, transportation and parking, retail and business development, and community programs. The plan lays out economic development and investment opportunities for eight blocks of downtown.
Rather than take a top-down approach to redevelopment, we helped different community groups organize small initiatives – such as an annual regional fair, farmer’s markets and events to support local retail – so residents had ultimate control over what change took place. We helped the community obtain grants to fund the first series of projects and oversaw the work, including the restoration of the water tower, the preservation of the Post Office’s façade and signage, and lighting of the old Courthouse. Working with Dot Foods, the region’s largest employer, we created a façade grant program; renovated the Hagel building, one of the oldest buildings in town that had long been vacant to create leasable space for a new restaurant; renovated a historic building on Main Street for leasable shell retail units; and designed a new building that houses a small, independent supermarket. These first projects have been instrumental in bringing activity back to the town center, and following their success, a number of local business owners have participated in renovations of other historic buildings along Main Street.
We continue to work with the Mt. Sterling Steering Committee to implement the plan, which will continue over the next decade.