THE FORGE ON BROADWAY
The Forge on Broadway is a new housing & retail development from SAA|EVI on the East Side of Buffalo. OtherWisz Creative worked closely with the developer and the architect to create a full brand package for their new affordable housing complex. Services included identity design and brand development, indoor signage and wayfinding, exterior building signage, interior wall graphics, furniture selection, website design, and project management.
A deep dive into Buffalo’s industrial past
OtherWisz was tasked with infusing the history of Buffalo Forge into the aesthetics of this new development. The process to fully realize the visual identity of the building began with extensive research on the history of the former Buffalo Forge. As the original industrial manufacturer of forges, fans, and air handling equipment, the Buffalo Forge was once the largest employer in the city.
Using historic materials to create initial concepts and visuals
While researching the history of the manufacturer, we met with several former employees of the Buffalo Forge; these individuals helped us acquire a variety of historic manuals, books, brochures and photos to work with as visual references for our design concepts. Using diagrams, schematics, photos, hand written notes, and formulas sourced from our research, we developed several concepts for murals and wall graphics that would add a historic quality to the new building.
Designing a brand built from history
Our main focus was to create a visual language for the new Forge on Broadway, making connections between the old brand materials and the contemporary identity. The OtherWisz team developed a logomark that retains the spirit of the site’s industrial past, but is also modern enough for this new-build. Our solution employs a strong word mark that combines contrasting typefaces to create visual interest; “Forge” appears in a tall sans serif, commanding the attention with its height, while “On Broadway” is somewhat subdued, using a typeface with more square characters.
Main Feature walls create dynamic entryways and shared spaces
Throughout this project, OtherWisz managed the production, delivery, and installation of all graphics and signage. After several months worth of work digitizing images from our source material, we designed 79 murals – hallway graphics and feature walls – totaling 3,095 square feet of wall graphics. Larger murals are positioned in key spaces; for example, the main lobby celebrates the City of Buffalo with a stylized vintage street map of the area enlarged to approximately 24’H x 20’W, spanning the two-story height of the space.
Hallway Graphics are used as a stylish wayfinding device
The wall graphics that appear throughout the hallways of the building are a useful, yet visually appealing, wayfinding tool that makes it easier to navigate throughout the 158-unit complex. We devised a system to correlate the murals with different areas – each of the four floors is assigned one part of the color palette, and various types of imagery are used to indicate the five wings of the building. This subtle detail improves the wayfinding experience for residents and visitors, helping them to better find where they need to go.
Designing branded interior signage to follow ADA compliance
OtherWisz designed and managed the production of 353 interior signs to support the Forge on Broadway brand including directional signage, room numbers, specialty room signs and emergency and instructional signs. The typographic style used on the internal signs features tall, bold characters set in the main brand font, the same one seen in the logo. The signs were designed to be easily read, and include raised characters and ample space left for braille translations as specified by ADA Compliance standards for residential buildings.
Bold outdoor signage makes a strong impression
Large-scale exterior signs were installed on the building, defining the space as the Forge on Broadway. The 20” illuminated aluminum letters hang on the canopies above the entryways of the building in 3 locations. With their 3” depth and blue accent, the signs compliments the colorful exterior cladding and the bold graphics used inside. OtherWisz was careful to consider the sizing of the exterior signage, taking into account the distance from which people view the signs when passing by – including the 24 inch tall address numbers high up on two sides of the building.
Managing the furniture needs for shared spaces
Pleased with our progress on the brand development, our project management and overall vision for the project, SAA|EVI hired our team to source and install furniture for the building’s common spaces such as the 2 lobbies and lounge areas, the community room, conference, library and computer room. OtherWisz reviewed many online furniture sources to find items that would be harmonious with the color scheme we developed and could ship to meet the project’s deadline. The items were vetted for quality of materials, and selected to furnish all shared spaces with respect to color and functionality.
Showcasing the apartments with a modern website
OtherWisz also designed the Forge on Broadway website to market the apartments to prospective renters. The web content is descriptive and tailored to a regional understanding of the City of Buffalo, including locations of interest in the East Side and the list of amenities offered at the apartments. Representing the Forge on Broadway accurately is critical to providing a good insight about what life would be like at the Forge Apartments.
Displaying OtherWisz’s full range of services
The Forge on Broadway started with a simple referral for our historical exhibit design capabilities and evolved into the larger branding, design and installation project that it became. A project of this size and scope includes a lot of moving parts, and coordinating and managing individual aspects of the Forge project were key.
Our experience with research and assessment, copywriting and editing, graphic design and environmental design, process and development, sourcing vendors and coordinating installation were essential to meeting client expectations – all while maintaining a strict budget and matching a commercial construction timeline (the building was in various states of construction during this project).
In the end, we successfully delivered a memorable branding experience for the tenets of the Forge on Broadway, all while giving a glimpse to the City of Buffalo’s industrial past.