Brendan Prince touches on ’80s nostalgia in his identity for NY dive bar and event space, Recreo
Recreo, a dive bar and event space located in Rochester, New York, offers a unique experience inspired by urban city life, featuring vibrant murals created by renowned street artists and a setting that resembles a shipping container. Rochester-based graphic designer and fine artist Brendan Prince aimed to reflect the essence of urban culture in Recreo’s brand identity, drawing visual inspiration from ’80s design, electronic devices, and the signage commonly found in small businesses in urban cities across the United States.
The defining element of Recreo is its diverse range of wordmarks, each representing different aspects of the establishment. “I wanted this brand to take on multiple personalities and not feel limited by a single brand position,” Prince explains. “Because we wanted to give this bar an urban edge, I was initially inspired by various stickers you see throughout a city – on the bottom of a skateboard, or on a guitar case, for example. The wordmark for the bar and kitchen was meant to mimic a neon sign, with its single-line stroke, which is common in traditional dive bars in western New York. The wordmark for the events space was inspired by traditional record industry logos, and the logo for the gaming and smash room was inspired by traditional ’80s arcade games and VHS tapes. A lot of the games at Recreo are arcade-focused, and a lot of the items to smash are old electronics.”
Neue Montreal, a typeface by Pangram Pangram, plays a crucial role in unifying the various elements of Recreo’s identity. By using it across all wordmarks, Prince established a subtle connection between the different identities, reinforcing the cohesive nature of Recreo’s brand. He also opted for this typeface as a fresh alternative to typical neo-grotesk typefaces, which felt appropriate for capturing that ’80s aesthetic and brutalist graphic design. “I wanted to break the rules by stretching the type because I was inspired by bad signage seen in many small businesses, specifically in the United States, tying the brand back to the dive bar feel and urban edge,” he adds.
One notable element of Recreo’s identity is the use of Mystic Maroon, a deep and rich shade of pink; Prince chose this colour after observing its consistent presence in ’80s design references. By embracing the rich, recognisable shade, Recreo sets itself apart from local competitors, and adds a unique touch to its overall identity.