Responses by Chris Richards, partner, Cohere
Background: The DuPont building is an icon in Wilmington, Delaware. Constructed as the headquarters of the DuPont Corporation in 1908, the building has been known as a corporate space and more notably as the famous Hotel DuPont. When the Buccini/Pollin Group acquired the building, the firm fully realized the space as a true mixed-use environment by adding apartments to the mix. The project is aimed at baby boomers who grew up in Wilmington and recognize the importance of the building in the city’s history.
Reasoning: Cohere created a brand that combines history and elegance, blending Art Deco typography with vintage details inspired by the architecture and intricate decor of the 1800s. We wanted to tap into the nostalgia of the building itself, like the memories of elegant dinners and balls at the Hotel DuPont, but also position it as containing “everything you need” within this “city within four walls,” a tagline that was used throughout the history of the building.
Challenges: Combing through the history books to pull out tidbits to use in our newsprint collateral piece, like the fact that Bob Marley lived and worked in the DuPont building and Hotel under a different name for a few years. Consolidating the history of the building and also representing the modern offering required a keen balance of content.
Specific demands: From the beginning, the name for the apartments within the space had to be 101 dupont place—all lowercase and spelled out in that manner. Our client had done a lot of legwork to earn the rights to even use the name dupont in the space. Also, the logo mark could not contain the word Dupont within any shape similar to the corporation’s current logo. The legal and naming challenge was a creative constraint that enabled us to focus on the supporting details beyond the logo itself, while still creating a classic brand for the apartments to embrace.
Favorite details: During our site tours, we learned that there was a “family crest” that was seen throughout the boardroom and offices in the original space depicting a dog’s head—a spaniel or a hunting dog. That dog crest made its way into the brand as an icon and a representation of the pet-friendly amenities the new apartment spaces offer. Details pulled in from the advertising of the time also show up in our lettering, and print materials convey the feeling of an art deco time period. The building has stood the test of time due to its classic architecture and uses, so we wanted to make sure our brand elements didn’t steer our audience to only focus on the past.
Visual influences: The architectural details of the building influenced a lot of the details in the creative. The visual notion that the building itself takes up an entire city block influenced the name of our print piece, The Frame, and our creative messaging that emphasized the notion of being a part of a city within four walls. The elegant marble with pink and salmon color veining throughout the lobby also informed the color palette and ornate details of our lettering.