PROJECT DI­ARY: ROYAL MINT COURT

How me&dave de­signed a new iden­tity for the site

Computer Arts - - CONTENTS -

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.

02

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

09

07

05

04

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.

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