Ponce de León Architects (“Arquitectos” in Spanish) is an architectural firm based in Montevideo, Uruguay who were established in 2004. Today they have over 1,500,000m2 of architectural projects built in seven countries.
Sanfrancisco proposed a clean image composed of a few elements, so as to achieve the versatility required to be used for the new institutional stationary, website, building site signage and even editorial projects.
The first aspect to address had to be the brand name, which had over four variants. With the purpose of consolidating it’s presence abroad, Ponce de León Architects was chosen, making it a logotype with two application variants plus a monogram.
With projects ranging from private houses, commercial buildings, housing and office buildings to technology parks, the brand image had to be able to encompass and adapt to the whole scope.
The Ponce de León logotype
Having a long extension, the name had to me reduced to a size which could be handled with ease. This determined the use of a bold and condensed font. With two clear directions, horizontal and vertical – given both by the font and by the name, a visual break was needed in order to balance the image. A diagonal line was chosen both to separate the words and to inject dynamism in the three variations of the logotype.
Being sans serif and tall (but stable) the condensed bold Akzidenz Grotesk was a suitable choice for the logotype font. Its modern but already established form encompasses the practice’s style and attitude towards its projects. Using only capital letters allowed the logo’s shape to constitute a visual ‘block’ only disrupted by the word ‘de’, formalism required when writing the surname Ponce de León.
No visual abstraction was used to create the company’s mark, as the styles and types of projects done by Ponce de León Architects were too broad. Instead, the letters P and A are divided again by the use of the red diagonal line – this time enlarged so as to achieve balance and dynamism in the monogram.
The colour palette was created only with three colours: a cool dark grey, cool light grey and an almost burgundy red. The predominance of the black and white (lightened to shades of grey so as to reduce contrast) is again balanced by a third element, in this case a red line.
The new brand identity had to be applied throughout the company’s touch points with its clients both existing and potential. The website was designed from scratch so as to allow the ease in navigation throughout more than 180 projects, ranging from individual houses to whole new cities. A cool dark grey works as a background, with only a few appearances in menus and small typographic elements. The monochromatic overall look allows the project images to step forward and be the main showcase of the website.
Business cards, stationery, envelopes, CD cases, blueprint identifying stickers and on-site billboards were all designed to unite and enhance the company’s positioning.
Sanfrancisco were also commissioned in the designing of the practice’s 150 page portfolio and 60 page curriculum vitae. The identity was applied throughout both publications.