Located on the far west side of Manhattan, between 14th and Gansevoort Streets — although now it’s extended to 16th and Horatio Streets — the Meatpacking District is one of the most iconic neighborhoods in New York. Its name comes from the more than 250 slaughterhouses and packing plants opened in the area by 1900, giving it its industrial chic appeal of today. From the 1960s to the late 1990s, the Meatpacking District’s declining meat and packing business and lack of residential options turned the neighborhood into a seedy one overrun by sex, drugs, and no rock ‘n’ roll. By the late 1990s, as fashion boutiques, big brands, luxury hotels, and fancy restaurants opened their doors, the Meatpacking District started transforming into what we see today: an expensive, vibrant, attractive community punctuated by the High Line and, now, the Whitney. Headed by the Meatpacking Business Improvement District, a new identity has been introduced, designed by the New York office of Base.
The association approached international branding firm Base Design to create a new visual identity that would help change the perception of the district into more than a place to party, towards a culturally multi-faceted, must-see destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike. Base started by defining the Meatpacking’s history, what the district is known for today and what it might be in the future. From there, they worked to capture and translate the spirit of the neighborhood into a new bold visual identity and tagline.
Base knew the Meatpacking District has always been a world of fascinating contrasts, and that it was that precise friction that gives the district its unique feel and constant pulse. It followed then, that this feeling of contrast should be celebrated in the neighborhood’s new visual identity, expressed through typeface melding — dividing bold and light typefaces that create surprising and unexpected moments. The tagline, “The New Original”, pays homage to the history and provenance of the district while capturing the renaissance currently taking place in the neighborhood.
Base provided text
The logo instantly communicates the literal and metaphorical clashes of the neighborhood by doing a very simple sans serif meets serif wordmark. It’s not a revolutionary concept and even the execution is as basic as it gets — which is apt for a neighborhood with an implied edge to it but completely soft around said edges. The logo appears to be challenging but it’s fairly tame and that’s not a terrible thing as grandparents and kids flock to the neighborhood more regularly than drug dealers. The wordmark consists of half Platform and half Romana and they work surprisingly well together with each having their own quirky structures and unconventional aesthetics.
In application, the best aspect about the logo is that the layout can determine how much Platform you see or how much Romana you see. In the website, there is less Platform as the navigation column is less wide and that’s where they drew the alignment — same as the image directly above that makes almost a comical use of the tiny door to the left to divide the logo. The split images keep the concept of contrasts consistent although they lack distinctive opposing or complementing themes to tell an engaging story (other than “Buy, live, or work here to be in fashion”). Overall, it’s okay and on the surface manages to capture the perception vs. reality conflict of the neighborhood but lacks some depth and interest.
Thanks to Victoria Darah for the tip.