PROJECT DIARY: ROYAL MINT COURT
How me&dave designed a new identity for the site
DEVELOPING THE CONCEPT By Alex Fenton
Our relationship with the property investor and developer Delancey began by chance. A planning application for a nearby scheme they were working on landed on the doorstep of our old South Bank studio, so we got in contact and then went for a coffee. The Royal Mint Court project came up in conversation and we were invited to pitch.
The site was built in 1809 to house the Royal Mint, but had been left dormant since Barclays vacated in 2000. Delancey were now regenerating the site, delivering offices with retail, cafés and restaurants to create a modern commercial campus. Its courtyard was designed to be an open area with no traffic – a tranquil space on the City fringe where creative professionals could work and be inspired.
The most important part of our brief was to change people’s perceptions. Having lain dormant for so long, the site had been forgotten; we had to revive its incredible heritage while addressing the aspiration for it to become a future-forward campus, communicating this across a suite of online and offline deliverables.
Twelve years specialising in the real-estate sector has taught us that designers tend to focus too much on identity. Here, we wanted
to craft a brand experience, focusing on how it looks, sounds and makes you feel.
The dream outcome was for one big outfit to take the entire space, but this wasn’t guaranteed. We had to appeal to a wide audience of media companies, tech giants and law firms, but we also knew not everyone was suited to this unique space – whoever came here had to have creativity at their heart. We referred to these people as ‘the innovative and the industrious’, those prepared to break away from traditional City codes and embrace the oldmeets-new juxtaposition of Royal Mint Court.
We imagined early on that other agencies would play the safe card, and endeavoured to do something different. Our strategy was to bring energy, colour and impact to lift the site out of the white noise of Tower Hill.
The client loved it.
DESIGNING THE IDENTITY By Mark Davis
The identity we designed would consist of several elements, but we knew that across them the look and feel needed to be something new, something that embraced the future with open arms, not shying away from it.
One of the central images is a pair of glossy lips breaking through a pale mint-green background to represent the brand’s loud new voice bursting out of the past. This came out of our Pop Art-style photoshoots, where we imagined the dialled-up personalities of future tenants – characters who would announce what was to come in a totally unexpected, bold and visual way.
We selected a palette of four, core pastel colours, and styled our characters to match each shade. The palette amplifies the personalities and complements the style of the photography, letting it sing. We worked with Ruth Rose, a fashion photographer who enjoys using pastel colours. All the castings were done in-house, with eight models selected to embody the different types of tenants, but amped up, almost caricatured, to create a heightened energy and an unusual, ownable feel. Ruth was great at dialling everything up.
The typographic expression also had to be bold and there was no question; a heavy sans serif would be the way forward. This is why we chose Gotham Ultra.
“Typographic expression had to be bold and there was no question; a heavy sans serif would be the way forward”
One of the complications we encountered was the council stipulated people had to be able to see in. So the hoardings were designed with clear Perspex apertures. This allowed passersby to look in without stopping us from displaying our main brand image – the lips – and the lively green colour. The slatted appearance of the brand carried over into other areas of the design, such as the brochures and website.
The brand experience continued into the marketing suite. We wanted to present arrivals with the antithesis of the historical Doric columns they’d seen outside, taking them down a rabbit hole into the forward-thinking 21st-century space Delancey was creating. The space was split in two; a welcoming playful area, with a secret door where the more functional information was presented in meetings.
THE VERDICT By Mark Davies
Our client loved the big idea and sense of fun and playfulness in the brand we designed. They really got behind the brand and immersed themselves in ideas for the marketing suite and the potential of where it could go. Pink pool table, neon lights… you name it.
Feedback from Delancey was really positive: “me&dave understood that this was all about bringing the old and the new together in a sensitive but exciting way. The creative team’s innovative strategy really demonstrated that historic Royal Mint Court has a fresh and significant role to play in modern London life.”
In terms of effectiveness, the fact that the site was sold to one occupier speaks for itself.
We’re so proud of the brand we created. Commercial property hasn’t always been like 22 Bishopsgate and similar brands that you see today. When we began Royal Mint Court, the commercial sector was more risk adverse and this was a rare project from a forward-thinking client, who was willing to break the mold. It was a pleasure to be a part of it.
01 01-02 and 04-05 The team at me&dave defined a set of personae who would represent the future-forward clientele predicted for Royal Mint Court. Models were styled to suit the brand’s pastel colour palette and then photographed for Royal Mint Court’s supporting material.
08-09 Rather than a logo, the signature visual for the identity was a mouth bursting through a pale lime background loudly 08 signalling that new life was coming to one of London’s forgotten landmarks.
06-07 Again, the vertical slats motif, here expressed through the graphic design of the brochure, reinforcing the excitement about to be revealed as Royal Mint Court became ready for its new tenants. 06
03 The full tabbed prospectus for the new Royal Mint Court offering is brought to life using nearly all the brand assets and fine-tuned colour palette designed by me&dave. 14 03
11 me&dave extended the brand experience into a reception room and meeting area for the sales team, richly infusing it with visuals as a way of highlighting the new things coming to the 200-year-old setting. 11
10 10 Regulations stipulated that the hoarding around the redevelopment had to be broken by gaps for the public to see in, so me&dave turned the slats into a feature of the brand’s graphical approach.