Corrigan Company is one the largest mechanical contractors in the US, leading complex piping projects for industrial and institutional buildings across the country. Founded in 1896, the company has remained family-owned to this day. To celebrate 120 years in business, we created a visual identity for the anniversary that brings a fresh perspective to the company and engages both staff and external audiences.
The visual identity comprises three elements – typographic seals, headline messaging and illustrations – all paired with a vibrant color palette taken from technical piping drawings. Executed with bold simplicity and a bit of humor, the visual identity reflects the down-to-earth, non-corporate personality of this family-owned company, yet in a manner that conveys professionalism and expertise.
We created a booklet that tells the company’s story through the decades – with illustrations to represent key buildings and historic moments. These illustrations paired with humorous copy served as the foundation for campaign graphics. The project allowed the identity to extend across various applications, from print ads to t-shirts, from packing tape to post-cards, and from construction site signage to ball markers and golf polos. This diverse collection of collateral was given to clients and staff in celebration of Corrigan’s 120 years in business.
Base4 Innovation is a Cambridge-based research and development company working to solve some of the most difficult problems in biotechnology – with a particular focus on DNA sequencing. The team includes scientists and engineers with expertise in physics, nanofabrication, optical detection, molecular biology, microfluidics, chemistry, computer science and electrochemistry. Base4 is regularly granted patents for its research, resulting in a valuable portfolio of high-value technologies.
Scientific patents are typically commemorated with traditional, etched brass plaques. We were asked to design a more contemporary take on these plaques that would serve as a way to document Base4’s research over time and recognise the work of each scientist involved. We created a series of wood cubes with the patent information printed on four sides and a brass numeral inlayed on the top face. The addition of the numerals – each using a different typeface – places the patent cubes in chronological order. Solid walnut was chosen as a more timeless counterpoint to the modern mix of typography used, and because Base4’s work and interests are strongly tied to nature.
The cubes are designed to work as single, stand alone pieces when given to individual scientists, and as a larger collection for the company itself. Able to be stacked and assembled in many different ways, the patent cubes work as a set of building blocks, a subtle reference to Base4’s focus on DNA research.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.