A good brand, or visual identity, gives an immediate, almost subconscious sense of who you are and what you represent. It creates a meaning behind its components (the name, the logo, tone, typeface…) and should portray an intuitive sense of identity which allows you to stand out against the competition. This is a concept that doesn’t just apply to websites and marketing materials but also to buildings and spaces, both complementing the architecture and representing the users.
When our Bristol architecture team were commissioned to refurbish the interior of 31 Great George Street, they initially asked us for advice on lettering styles for wayfinding but soon realised that there was an opportunity for us to provide much more to the project. Following a meeting with the client, our Graphic Communication team were commissioned to create a new visual identity for the redesigned building, including bespoke wall art and detailed wayfinding.
In partnership with the client and architects, we developed a new brand that complemented the industrial feel of the interior of the building to enhance the building’s image and appeal. We created a logo for signage and promotion, and developed a visual language including a library of clean, stripped back icons and characters to be used in wayfinding.
It was interesting to apply the processes of graphic communication on such a large scale; the branding of a space as opposed to, for example, a company, but we deftly avoided any Spinal Tap style mishaps. The setting was different to many of the projects we undertake, but many of the principles remained the same: to portray a message in a way that is immediately legible and appealing, often without it being immediately obvious. At 31 Great George Street this was particularly important in the wayfinding in order to display information in both the most legible and least obtrusive way possible, enabling people to easily navigate through the building.
Original artwork was produced for the basement level, including a 20 x 2.5 metre super-graphic for the bike parking area. We also created a piece of graphic art, inspired by the aesthetics of wayfinding (and including map coordinates to Banksy pieces across Bristol), which was rendered in Armourcoat plaster on the atrium wall, spanning the entire height of the building.
As well as being a fantastic project to work on, it is a great example of the value graphic design can add to this kind of project through carefully considered and designed wayfinding and brand building. It also reflects the positive results an integrated graphic language can have on the interior design of a building.
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Graphic Communication, Graphic Design, Great George Street, Branding, South West