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Polytechnic’s identity for Siding references and revels in the bakery’s process and philosophy

In need of an identity to bring together their message, motivation and tone, Norfolk-based sustainable bakery Siding partnered with the collaborative graphic design practice Polytechnic, based in London, working across the board from brand and art direction to packaging, signage and interior design. Maintaining a utilitarian and pragmatic direction alongside an inescapable hand-crafted warmth, the resulting identity system manages to avoid becoming cloy and cutesy, instead revelling in approachability, sincerity and heart. 

Championing tactile techniques such as ink stamps and steel clips, and practical restrictions from the bakery’s productions, to inform the design’s direction, Polytechnic led the identity with a striking bespoke display typeface. Siding worked in France on the development of their baking techniques, so the typeface – similarly to the interior design of the bakery – found its inspiration in the industrial spaces of France. “Siding Display is based partially on the letterforms from the keys on early c20 hand placement charts for typists,” Polytechnic Co-director Arthur Carey tells us, “the honest and direct forms scaled nicely and we liked the feel they gave as the lead display signage lettering in the space.”

Alongside Siding Display is a reactionary and referential system; made in the light of its context and responsive to future, seasonal changes. Grounded by the use of Monotype Grotesque as the diligent supporting typeface, the graphic language takes a kind and holistic approach – supported by art and illustration both within the identity and the bakery’s interior, including collaborations with artist Kieran Blakey. “His work has a rawness which felt appropriate,” Carey succinctly recalls, “his previous work showed that he was not afraid to work in very abstract ways to depict certain themes and ideas,” he adds, resulting in striking, engaging work that neatly represents Siding’s process and philosophy. 

Making further contextual references, Siding’s single colour palette comes from the bakery’s own geography, opting for a deep red in reference to Norfolk’s famous red bricks. “Avoiding the use of black was also important to us,” Carey concludes, “as this felt too dry for the joyful experience of being on-site, or eating their food.”

Typefaces: Siding Display by Polytechnic / Monotype Grotesque by Monotype
Illustration: Kieran Blakey
Food and product photography: Sam A Harris
Architectural photography: Thomas Adank
Web development: Hungry Sandwich Club

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