A story at a glance: how newkid’s clever wordmark for Commonplace encapsulates the brand’s mission
“When we first met the team behind Commonplace, they were known as REDIST, and were focused on building a property tech platform to help developers access public financing. But their vision was so much bigger – nothing less than the transformation of real estate development to be more equitable, inclusive and sustainable,” newkid’s Co-founder Alex Avendaño tells us. A platform that connects developers and investors who share a mission to build for the social good, Commonplace was looking for a brand refresh to align with their new direction, and they found the perfect partner in the Toronto-based creative practice.
To usher in this new era for Commonplace, newkid led with a new wordmark – the project’s undoubted pièce de résistance. In it, the two ‘m’s are interconnected, “symbolising not only collaboration, but the physical notion of a meeting place,” explains Co-founder Richard Brown. Alongside subtle graphic nods to the architectural world – inspired by a continuous enquiry into how we interact with the built spaces around us – the placement of typography was deliberately ‘contained’ to naturally complement the negative space that’s a signature in the work of Clarissa Bonet, the artist and photographer who developed bespoke assets for this project. “In developing the foundational imagery with her, we were drawn to compositions that contained strangers in a shared space, surfacing the often forgotten ways our individual lives intersect in the built world,” he notes.
Brown’s background as an architecture student informed the typographic choices. From the very get-go, he leaned towards the architectural qualities of Berlin-based Neubau’s typefaces, which proved to be a perfect fit for the subject matter – the built environment. “NB Grotesk offered the unique ‘second glance’ quality to elevate our primary headlines, while NB International works as a slightly more restrained, yet timeless family that can robustly support the editorial side of the brand,” reveals Brown. It is this orchestrated coming together of various elements – from the light-handed visual tone, the restrained type and palette, to the chiaroscuro of Bonet’s atmospheric photographs – that create a quiet, yet impactful universe for Commonplace.