One Darnley Road
Branding + Digital

The School House

The School House is a restored mid-century school located in Chicago’s River North neighbourhood. The unique space has been reimagined to host events – from corporate gatherings to weddings – as well as offering pickleball, antiques, drinks and eats for all to enjoy. We created a brand identity and website that celebrate the mid-century modern design style of the building and pay homage to its original use.

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Built in the 1930s, the venue retains many of the original architectural features including wall tiles, brickwork, open-beam ceilings, and ticket windows. These inspired a visual language built on clean lines and geometric forms that capture the essence of the mid-century modern movement and its desire for design that is both functional and beautifully constructed.

During the renovations, a treasure trove of materials from the venue’s time as a school were also discovered – ranging from filing folders and tabs to pupil records and report cards. These further informed the brand expression, influencing linear background graphics and layout devices, as well as a subtle but rich colour palette.

From these materials, we identified a classic font which had been used across the school filing system. Times Gothic, originally published by American Type Founders in 1905, is formed from clean lines with pleasing geometry to give an understated but authoritative feel. This style informed an elegantly simple logotype and monogram, while the font is used across applications alongside subtle handwritten messages that add a personal touch.

The result is a brand system that feels truly authentic – with meaning and heritage behind each visual element. Applied across a range of promotional and in-environment materials, the brand fits seamlessly with the period of the building, while representing a contemporary and dynamic venue that has so much to offer its guests.

Often as the first point of contact for potential users of space, the website will be an important tool in immersing people in the School House experience. We created a beautifully designed solution which captures the established and sophisticated feel of the new identity, while effectively showcasing each of the individual spaces within the 35,000 square foot building.

The layout focuses on large scale use of moving image and photography to provide a flavour of the spaces, ambience, and surrounding neighbourhood. While information on floorplans, pricing, and amenities are highlighted in an easily accessible way, along with clear calls to action for users to book online or make further enquiries.

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