Established in 2007, O Street is a graphic design firm in Glasgow, Scotland. If you are wondering why a design firm is getting a Review and then looking at the header image and further wondering why a grungy new logo is getting a Review then read on. This is a fun one, as O Street introduces a new identity for themselves designed with the help of Glasgow’s finest roadliners.
A Glasgow-based roadlining crew from Markon worked with O Street to draw the new brand. They smeared molten-thermoplastic on the pavement and graciously obliged when we request an alphabet, numerals, punctuation (every good designer needs an ampersand), and the new O Street logotype.
You might remember this video from 2014 of a couple of road liners in London killing it on the word “BUS STOP”, which was our first glimpse at this rare and overlooked craft. That video got a lot of air play and now we have this identity that has taken it to the next level in terms of not just mimicking the style and aesthetic of roadline typography but going through the trouble of locating an actual crew and convincing them to draw an entire alphabet. There is nothing more original than going to the source and O Street has taken the road less traveled to get there.
We digitised the alphabet written for us by the crew, and the logo went straight from street to screen. There was plenty of space for wee touches—like the thermoplastic printing on our business cards and stationery—using the same materials as roadliners.
The resulting letterforms vary from great (that “4”) to questionable (that “B”) — the London crew from the other video have better curve control — but the grungy texture and condensed aesthetic make for a convincing alphabet. And a fun one, as it’s not yet another geometric sans serif.
O Street’s old logo was quite nice, with the sideways “O” and as a logo for a design firm it’s probably better suited than the new one but, again, the commitment to the roadlining concept wins through here and the grunginess of the logo is offset by a light, simple sans serif.
In application, the best touch is the use of thermography to capture the rubbery texture of paint and give it a raised tactility. The yellow accents add another element of street-ness to the identity and all the typography and layouts are very well considered and elegant, so the grungy type doesn’t just feel like a 1990s album cover. Overall, it’s nice to see a design firm be more expressive with their own identity and a round of applause for going the Full Monty.