February 2018

93 Feet East – A behind the scenes look at our design process

by Daniel Hayman

When 93 Feet East, one of London’s leading music venue, approached us in October 2017 to create a new brand identity for the them we knew it would be a challenge to get everything launched by the following January. With such a tight deadline we needed to get our process right to ensure an efficient and successful turnaround. Here is a little insight into how we did it.

Our process is key to any branding project we work on which can be broken down into 5 key stages. By involving our clients at each step we make it a collaborative process and every decision made is clearly shown before moving on to the next stage.

Stage One: Research

Our Creative approach was informed by a period of research to understand the client and their aspirations. We took time to visit the venue and surrounding area, to see for ourselves how the space was being used and how it felt to be there. This was backed up with some detailed questions to help discover the core values, personality and positioning of the business.

Stage Two: Define the brief

Our insight enabled us to distill our findings into a succinct creative brief that gave us and the client a clear direction of who they were and where they wanted to be. The client’s ambition was to elevate the venue to be more than a club, they wanted it to be a leading music venue and a hub for art and culture.

Stage Three: Develop the creative route

We looked for visual themes that were emerging from our research which we assembled into three creative routes, each with a different rational behind it. These were backed up by mood boards that explored ideas for the visual direction and some illustrative sketches that explored initial ideas.

After presenting the creative routes, themes of ‘industrial’ and ‘modular’ resonated strongly with the client. As part of the Old Truman Brewery the venue has a rich history and connection with the whole area. They also liked the idea behind ‘modular’ as the building is used as a multi-purpose space with 4 different areas that can be adaptable to several types of event.

Stage Four: Evolve the concept

We explored fonts and typographic techniques from the industrial era. Through research we found out that stencilled fonts, an iconic industrial type style, had once been used as a quick way to label and mark barrels for shipment. We felt this was very relevant to the venues heritage as a brewery.

Through creative exploration we designed a stencilled font by stripping away as much as we could without losing the legibility of the type. By doing this we were able to refine the type to 4 basic geometric shapes to recreate the number ’93’. This also tied in with the theme of modular and the 4 spaces within the venue. We found that within the shapes we were able to reference the symbol for ‘feet’ in the tail of the 9 and ‘east’ with an east facing arrow within the number 3.

Having already chosen a font on which to base the mark, we adapted the it to tie in with the angles and proportions of the new mark, giving us a typeface we could use across the brand. This enabled us to create a secondary logotype which could be used at smaller sizes.

Stage Five: Developing the brand identity

With the logo complete, we expanded on the concept to create the brand identity. Shapes derived from the brandmark were used as a device to house and interact with type and imagery and also create abstract backgrounds that had a subtle hint toward constructivist design from the industrial era. By creating a broad palette of assets we gave the identity the flexibility it needed for the multi-purpose nature of the space, and was rolled out across print, social media, eflyers and a responsive website.

With a strong mark and concept in place the brand identity gave clear direction for the refurbishment of the venue. The process of creating the identity was applied to that of the interior design. By stripping things back to its roots, it unearthed some original features of the building.

The new space now has a sense of its heritage with a true industrial contemporary feel.

The end result is a contemporary identity that reflects the personality of the venue and its industrial history, but it is just one element of a large toolkit of parts, from a website, to branded video and photography guidelines, Together they form a brand identity that is flexible and adaptable for the future. See the full project here