Toast Rack | Case Study - Noir Agency

Where a landmark of history meets a statement of the future

The Brief

The iconic landmark Toast Rack building, which was originally part of Manchester Metropolitan University’s campus, is being redeveloped into 210 apartments, complete 20,000 square feet of Gym and Leisure space, artisan coffee shop and glass-covered winter garden and over 7,000 square feet of retail space.

Developer, Generation Ltd, tasked us with crafting a brand which could sensitively acknowledge the long history of the building and its iconic 1960s architecture, whilst being a beacon for the future of the development.

The Process

Branding an icon

Working with one of Manchester’s most famous (or infamous depending on your taste) statements of architecture was as exciting as it was challenging. We knew we had to create a visual identity and language that was iconic and would accurately represent where the Toast Rack came from, and where it was going. Our top consideration was to ensure that we didn't lose the rich history whilst creating something that was future-proofed.

The brand needed to speak to our modern audiences who would be attracted to living in this exciting new residential development from young couples to families, to professionals and retirees whilst also embodying the modernist spirit of the 1960’s. We set out to create a logo, colour palette and visual language as well as tone of voice and key messaging that would work across a variety of media - from hoarding to marketing materials, right down to internal signage which would eventually live within the buildings.

"We are excited to be working with Noir on this project. From our first meeting, we were impressed with their enthusiasm, energy and attention to detail. "We were looking for a young, dynamic company to bring a fresh perspective to this project, and for a team who didn’t necessarily have a property background or focus. They bring something very different to the table and we look forward to seeing what they produce."

Shehzad Chaudri - ACO, Toast Rack

The Outcome

A modern approach to a modernist style

The central logo concept takes the 1960s parabolic line forms and geometric style along with the era's bold shapes to create a resemblance of the iconic toast rack building from a front-facing perspective. The use of duplicated shapes was chosen to reflect the depth of the building and its recognisable shape, in an abstract way. With an abundance of outdoor space and a mix of unit shapes, the Toast Rack development, has been built to cater for all stages of life. It was important that this shone through in the branding. The height variation within the elements of the logo, had a second meaning, to resemble a couple or a family unit.

This colour palette selected takes the 1960s style of bright colours, boldness and pop art and incorporates these values into a palette suitable for modernist architecture. These sixties inspired colours will allow a cultured art integrated throughout the development, to draw the consumers into a space full the brim of personality and style.

The chosen contemporary typography options emulate the 1960s style of font. These options denote the original typography published during the sixties decade itself whilst also considering our current 21st century modern type. The fonts will be incorporated into the physical signage and wayfinding used throughout the building, using large bold fonts against bright colour blocks, allowing the colour palette and typography to work together in harmony.

The branding will be rolled out across marketing materials, site hoarding and website in the new year.

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