Hughes Condon Marler Architects (HCMA) came to us for a better online presence, but with enough questions about their identity—and a general dissatisfaction with it—that we started the process by working with the partners of the firm in a workshop setting. In our brand discovery session we set out to dig deeper into the firm’s core and direction. An important consideration was whether a firm name based on the names of the partners is sustainable, especially if one should leave. Ultimately, we settled on the shorter HCMA, an acronym already used by many clients and people in the industry.
Our goal for the project was to support future growth, effectively differentiate HCMA from other firms, and create resiliency in the face of the changing landscape of firm culture.
In our past and current research of architecture firms internationally, we found that in general, firms seek to differentiate themselves by portraying their work in photography–clean, sculptural, dramatic images devoid of evidence that the buildings are intended for human use. Many of the logos are simple, font-based wordmarks and play only a supporting role to the firm’s work.
HCMA wanted to show that at their core, the projects they undertake are for, about, and because of the communities they serve. The result is their tagline, “Considered Environments,” and photography that speaks to the not-always-apparent details that go into making a building a success after the ribbon is cut.
The underlying concept of the new HCMA logo is about the small and large details inherent in creating successful architecture. In much the same way that Michelangelo suggested he merely revealed a sculpture already existing within the stone, HCMA brings life to spaces, whether within a structure or on the site a building is to be situated on. Eventually, theses places become a part of a vibrant and successful contribution to a community.
HCMA’s role is to discover, uncover, enhance, and create these spaces, revealing their potential. With their insights, passion, and consideration, HCMA feeds the eventual delight and enjoyment of its clients and those who use the buildings they design.
The angled slice off the bottom of the logomark partially obscures the typography to create open spaces within which details may exist or be built. It also brings a new and unexpected meaning and form to the letters, a portion of which are hidden, or depending on your viewpoint, yet to emerge. Ultimately, this represents the details and thinking behind HCMA’s work.
We applied this thinking to a completely new stationery package featuring a logo with registered blind emboss and clear foil stamp, which creates an elegant and tactile quality. Business cards and letterhead also feature full colour photography on the backs to complete the “Considered Environments” message. Internal and external documents such as report and proposal design, title blocks, templates, forms, and even notepads were also created alongside a new CMS-driven website that is the centerpiece for the formal launch of the new identity. Feedback has been extremely positive, and the partners are unanimously thrilled as they now have a strong brand to confidently build the future of the firm.
“I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with our new brand identity. I think that it all turned out extremely well. I am particularly pleased with the cards, the gridded paper and the compliments card, the envelopes…actually, with everything. I am very confident that this material will serve us well. Thanks again to everyone at IB for your exceptional work.” – Darryl Condon, Architect + Managing Partner, HCMA
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