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.

As part of the research process, OtherWisz Creative collected a variety of primary sources and historic printed materials from the Buffalo Forge

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.

OtherWisz created 3D renderings of The Forge common areas, to help visualize mural concepts in real space

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.

An animated version of The Forge on Broadways logo uses modern sans serif typefaces while also referencing Buffalo's industrial past

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.

The striped feature wall mural in The Forge Apartments' tenant lobby welcomes guests to the site of the former Buffalo Forge Co

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.

Interior signage and wall murals at The Forge Apartments work together as a system of wayfinding devices, identifying important areas in the building

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.

The interior wayfinding signage designed by OtherWisz for The Forge on Broadway includes directory signs to help tenants and visitors navigate the building easily

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.

Large-scale exterior signage at The Forge Apartments stays true to the brand aesthetic, making a statement that identifies 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.

OtherWisz Creative contributed interior design services to The Forge Apartments, managing the selection and installation of chairs, couches, and other furniture for common areas

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.


The Forge on Broadway website designed by OtherWisz Creative provides regional details about Buffalo and insight on life at the apartments