Knowledge People Wonder

What This Brand Means

Tim Frisch

Branding is tough. It’s one of those slippery, elusive things that we all recognize but can’t always define. Is it a logo? A typeface? A set of colors? Is it how many places I can put those things without inciting public hatred?

The answer is yes. And no.

While any good brand has those identifiable elements that we’re all familiar with, they mean nothing without connotation. What do those elements mean? Do they evoke trust or fear? Are they familiar or aloof, fun or boring, old and stodgy, or classically cool? A good brand is almost incarnational, giving shape, color, and language to an idea.

As BVH embarked on this long process of refining and redefining what it means for us to practice architecture, we found it imperative to be wholly authentic to who we are as designers and individuals. Our brand needed to be a visual representation of our collective personality. When someone encounters our brand, they should also encounter us—for better or worse.

So, what does our new brand mean?

It means we are responsive.

We don’t design templated buildings. Rather, we believe every design, whether architectural or otherwise, should respond to a project’s unique circumstances and time. Likewise, our brand is designed to be an agile, responsive system concerned more with consistency than with uniformity.

Utilizing a minimal, type-centric design, the BVH Architecture wordmark adjusts easily to changing material, media, platforms, and size restrictions. This simple fluid approach allows the logo and overall brand to perform as a much more complex system while still being recognizable and easy to use.

See the logo in action here:

We are proud of our history.

The foundation of the logo is Neutraface, designed by Christian Schwartz and released by House Industries. Designed after the lettering of architect Richard Neutra, the typeface boasts sleek linear geometry paired with a simple approachability.

The logo utilizes the distinctive lowered waists of certain characters to strike a balance between a vintage yet modern aesthetic. The midcentury-inspired design is also a subtle nod to BVH’s rich architectural history. Classic yet unmistakably modern, it’s a simple but beautiful expression of the balance we strike as architects.

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We are optimistic about our future.

With the advent of the new brand came a name change—from ‘Architects’ to ‘Architecture.’ This seemingly small shift acknowledges that we’re not just architects but a team of designers and creative thinkers whose goal is architecture. It allows our brand to reflect the entire scope of services we offer as a design firm, from space and master planning to interior design, even in-house fabrication. As we continue to develop new areas of thought leadership and design-focused services, the brand will grow and flex to incorporate these as “sub-brands” reflective of our strong studio design culture.

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We believe in better design.

Our stance as a critical practice means we choose not to compromise our design principles. Reflecting this ethos, the new BVH brand boasts an intentionality of design that is stripped down, restrained and inevitable. There’s a strong logic of assembly behind the choices in color, proportions, and use, resulting in a fresh and distinctive identity.

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Like each of us, a good brand is full of nuances and personality. At BVH, it’s exciting to know that as we challenge ourselves and our clients to design and think more critically, these nuances are reflected in something as simple as a logo. These things matter to us, even if no one else notices, because while God might not be in the details, good design always is.