DutchScot’s wonky identity for Fitzjohn’s embraces the eccentricity of its location and legacy
“One of the first things that struck us about Fitzjohn’s was the distinctive architecture of the building itself,” Jacob Vanderkar and Alex Swatridge from London-based agency DutchScot tell us, contextualising their identity for the apartment complex. “It got even more interesting when we saw the floorplans,” they add, “as the apartments had a really striking, geometric footprint,” with each of the 29 apartments having its own unique layout. “We liked the idea that we could position the apartments as ‘works of art’ or ‘compositions,’” Vanderkar and Swatridge explain, that live as part of a series – culminating in the strapline ‘apartments composed for modern living’ and an unconventional, expressive typographic approach.
“To visually represent this idea, we distilled each apartment into a graphic composition,” Vanderkar and Swatridge detail, hoping to strike a balance between approachability and luxury, as well as a sense of artistry. “Because the development is for people over 60,” they continue, “the design and layout of each apartment were arguably more important than normal,” referring to the work of architecture practice Sergison Bates. “They had put a lot of thinking into how the layout and flow would benefit the person that lived there, focusing in on this aspect of the development felt like a fitting basis for the branding.”
As a result, DutchScot’s thorough brand for Fitzjohn’s ebbs and flows, dialling up and down whenever necessary – from practical, serene typographic applications to more eccentric compositions that champion the creative legacy of the Hamstead area, such as its renowned residency of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Beyond that, DutchScot also found inspiration in the area’s physicality. “Hampstead has these really distinctive street signs,” Vanderkar and Swatridge detail, “that are made up of (often a bit wonky) hand-painted ceramic tiles,” the spontaneously, seemingly improvised appearance of which greatly influenced their creative process.
“We loved the feel of these and so tried to bring some of that charm into the typography and layouts,” they add, turning to Madison Antiqua as the hero typeface to capture an equivalent character. “In the bigger headline copy, we set a sprinkling of the characters in the condensed cut,” Vanderkar and Swatridge remark, “so that it felt slightly odd or irregular,” likewise introducing Centra No. 2 from Sharp Type throughout. “We noticed that sans letterforms sometimes crept into the street signs,” they add, “so we used Centra No. 2 to represent that.”
DutchScot’s use of colour for Fitzjohn’s subverts the neutrality and blandness typically seen in comparatively priced property projects. “Again, inspired by the art world and Hampstead’s creative community, we knew we wanted a rich and varied colour palette,” the pair explain, looking for a bolder system. “We knew we’d want to tone it up and down so the navy and darker green provided a richness and level of sophistication,” Vanderkar and Swatridge conclude, “that then juxtaposed with the vibrancy of the pinks and oranges really well,” dutifully encapsulating the charming, eccentric and off-beat vibe of the area and the complex’s design.
Madison Antiqua by Heinrich Wilhelm Hoffmeister