Entering its second decade of helping clients define their brand, New York-based multi-specialty design studio C&G Partners has introduced a new identity and a new firmwide mission.
A New Identity:
Starting with a new logotype, C&G Partners identity is purposely straightforward, highly legible, makes better use of space, and is designed from the start to be a digital native. Neue Haas Unica, by Monotype’s Toshi Omagari, forms the basis of the refresh. The typeface is a modern revival of Unica, a “lost” typeface from the late 20th century originally created as a hybrid of Helvetica, Univers and Akzidenz Grotesk. “I think of Unica as a kind of zen version of Helvetica,” says Maya Kopytman, a partner at C&G. “It’s soothing, with a calm, even texture. It has the modernity of a classic, mid-century sans-serif, but at the same time it also has a humanistic, less corporate feeling. We’re thrilled to wear it as we go into our second decade.”
The typeface’s classic yet fresh presence fits the spirit of the firm’s creative practice. The logotype has a number of customizations made to the letterforms, from edits to the ampersand to adjustments within counters and apertures. C&G orange is now officially our brand accent color (black and white are the primaries so client work continues to take center stage), but now orange has a more mischievous role. Rather than being applied in large blocks of color, or in the logotype itself, it prefers to hide somewhere nearby in plain sight, ready to be found once you know the game. Legibility for social media badges and favicons was one of the driving forces for the redesign. Among the new mark’s compositional quirks is that it appears flush right but is left-aligned to the page.
The business cards, an interesting and integral part of the identity system, were custom produced by mPress Graphics. The cards are printed on a heavy 160# cover stock, foil stamped on both sides with each individual employee’s information printed offset, and the edge painted with C&G orange, again as a surprising and playful touch.
A Refined Mission:
The new visual identity also supports a new firmwide mission for C&G Partners: “Design for Culture.” Several years in the making, this it the result of analysis of the firm’s own work over the first ten years, reflection on the world today, and internal discussion of how C&G Partners can contribute. It is also inspired by the academic field of cultural and social anthropology. In this light, C&G Partners intends to remain a multi-specialty creative studio, but now with a refined purpose, primarily dedicated to design for culture — from cultural organizations to organizational culture. Here is the way the firm now describes itself:
“Purpose: We believe in the untapped value of culture, the institutions that enrich it, and the smart companies that cultivate it. We build on that value to connect people, create community, and find meaning. To do this, we maintain truly deep expertise in multiple specialties, integrated under one roof. These include exhibits and environments, infographics, interactive, motion and multimedia, print, signage and wayfinding, websites, and visual branding.
“Process: We start every project with deep immersion, listening carefully for the genuine story, especially in complex territories like the arts, science, religion and finance. We coax knotty ideas into clear narratives, then use our specialties to communicate the story with clarity, originality and style. For some clients, the result authentically transforms how others see and relate to them. For some, it transforms their own culture, revealing value they never knew was there.
“Value: We believe culture is our most valuable asset, from the culture of the workplace to the culture of the arts. But it is intangible, existing as a set of created stories that a group shares. Creation of these stories is the creation of real value. Designing for culture is designing culture itself.
“Our Own Culture: We aim to be genuine, approachable, thoughtful, and independent. Team members are surrounded by colleagues from virtually every discipline of design, working together in a single studio. We work for great clients with engaging assignments, constantly taking on new challenges. We grow and learn from people and influences around the US and world. Visitors will usually find bikes, dogs, coffee mugs … and snacks at 3:30.”