Manifesting a brand in a three-dimensional space comes with its challenges. You have to produce an identity that works at scale and performs a multitude of functional tasks, as well as capturing the heart and soul of the building and its purpose.
At 6rs, we’re often talking about how a brand is so much more than just a logo, and there is no better example of this than when you’re branding a building or commercial property. You have to consider how the brand influences signage and peoples’ movement around a space. How does it guide and inform them, as well as capturing their imagination and engaging them with the brand’s values and ethos? So when we were approached by Southend City Council and business growth experts Oxford Innovation to create the brand identity for the new £8m Launchpad business centre in Southend’s Airport Business Park, we knew we had a sizeable project on our hands. This is how we tackled it:
Creating flexibility and versatility
This is integral to any successful brand identity. With so many marketing channels and media types available, a good brand will have the flexibility to work across a range of scenarios. Key to this versatility is the creation of effective assets and house style within the brand. With the Launchpad brand, we developed a series of geometric shapes and graphics that could compliment content and create some depth to marketing materials. They were designed with multi-purpose and function in mind. The arrow icon in the logo itself was always intended to be used in other areas, be it functional or decorative.
Thinking at scale
When developing a brand identity for a building, it’s important to consider the scale and scenarios that your brand will need to work in. Over complicated designs may suffer when scaled up and legibility should be kept in mind at all times. Will the logo and accompanying graphics work just as well when blown up the size of a wall as they will when put on a lanyard? Vector graphics are a must; image-based designs will not retain sufficient quality in large format. The Launchpad logo mark was intentionally simple but the library of assets that we built around it gave the identity layers of meaning and created options when bringing it in to a three-dimensional environment. The colour palette and typography selections were all made with printed production in mind, as well as screen-based aesthetics. Some colours won’t reproduce as well in certain materials, or won’t communicate as well at a distance to the human eye.
Considering the needs of people
Accessibility and legibility are paramount when developing signage and wayfinding graphics for a building. The way people navigate their way around the space will be guided by the availability and prominence of the information. Making signage clear and easy to understand gives employees and visitors a positive experience when using the space and the facilities within the building. The placement and sizing of information has to be considered and the use of brand fonts and colours should enhance, not inhibit, the communication of that information. People are often looking for information in crowded or time-poor situations, so making sure that all graphics stand out clearly is vital. The Launchpad brand features fonts that work in multiple weights, and a colour palette that creates contrast, all of which help to develop hierarchy of information and clarity.
Giving the brand ownership
The brand should have a good relationship with the building and work in harmony with it. Our aim with Launchpad was to create a brand identity that is part of the fabric of the state-of-the-art building and celebrates the values behind its creation. The new site is a place for businesses to grow and thrive and the brief for the brand was to create something that had a sense of purpose and positivity, dialling in to a culture of success between the Launchpad and the companies calling it home. Consistent application of the brand throughout gave it a sense of belonging and permanence, engaging visitors to the building, educating them on its ethos and creating a polished, professional experience for everyone who comes through the doors.
Creating a culture
An effective brand should resonate with potential tenants. The visual identity needs to include clear messaging that reflects the building’s unique attributes and value proposition. This is an opportunity to put the first building blocks in place for a new culture that everyone can buy in to. In today’s business climate, commercial real estate needs to provide a stimulating and healthy environment for the occupants to thrive in. The Launchpad project was all about creating a sustainable and healthy environment for business and these values needed to shine through in every touch point, celebrating the culture of an innovative and healthy approach to business.
It has really given the building life and speaks to our values and what the Launchpad is all about.” — Georgina Roffey, Centre Manager