A Modern Brand for a Historic Icon
Opening in 2020, City Foundry STL is the adaptive reuse of the 15-acre former Federal-Mogul Midtown St. Louis foundry site into a 21st century mixed use development that celebrates creative concepts in food, commerce and entrepreneurship.
When I set out to create a brand for City Foundry STL (CFSTL) I played with a lot of ideas, but when it came down to it, I wanted the brand to communicate 1) a love of St. Louis 2) that CFSTL is a force for creative and innovative thinking and finally 3) be a reflection of the community the site lives in (an innovative and creative place to say the least!).
While I wanted to respect the industrial heritage of the site, I wanted the CFSTL brand to more about the future than the past. I wanted CFSTL to be about what’s next, not what’s happened.
So where to start with the visuals? Here’s where I started thinking about mixing new with old. The logo certainly pays homage to CFSTL’s industrial roots. I tried a few things here, but ultimately showcasing the iconic butterfly roof of the historic foundry building in the logo felt right. The roof’s beautiful geometry and volume of space distinguishes CFSTL from any place in St. Louis and I wanted to ensure that industrial roof was front and center.
So how do I mix in the new? As I walked through the foundry building during an early visit, I noticed lots of “safety yellow”. The color appeared in almost every room. It felt like the building was telling me what the primary brand color should be. While “safety yellow” is a great color to communicate “caution”, I decided on a fresh, easier on the eyes yellow for CFSTL.
I also noticed yellow and black “caution stripes” painted on various surfaces. Inspired by these stripes and the industrial architecture of the space, I incorporated geometric patterns and lines into the visual language to give the brand a bold, modern punch.
A lot of hard worked happened, is happening and will happen at CFSTL. Getting your hands dirty can be a gritty process, but that’s how doers and makers get stuff done and innovate. Staying true to the site’s history, location and current mission, it felt right to add a touch of “grit”, imperfection and texture into the visuals every once and a while.
Lastly, I created some badge logos that can be used to extend the brand’s visual language and give it additional interest.
My work included logo design, development of comprehensive brand guidelines, environmental graphics, signage and art directing and collaborating with outside agencies and vendors who are creating assets and programs for the development’s social media accounts and website. I was also heavily involved in marketing and promotion of the site.