Responses by Atomicdust
Background: The Recess team asked us to create the brand identity for their new concept: a bar and game venue located in an old warehouse in The Grove neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri. Recess would feature classics like bocce ball, ping-pong and old-school Nintendo consuls, and also introduce air bowling—a new-to-St. Louis game that combines aspects of football, bowling and cornhole. We developed branding and environmental graphics that evoke memories of basement hangouts and leisurely Saturdays, with hints of childhood nostalgia.
Reasoning: While the name was clearly inspired by a childhood activity, the bar is primarily for adults, but children are allowed on Sundays. We aimed to strike the right balance between youthful and adult, as well as retro and modern aesthetics. From the logo to the brand pattern, created using blacktop game lines as inspiration, texture plays a big role in the visual identity. The brand language echoes Recess’s relaxed atmosphere and vibe.
Challenges: Recess’s initial location is only temporary, so everything we designed needed to be easily moveable to another location. And at 100,000 square feet, the former plumbing supply warehouse was four or five times the size of any space we’d worked with before. We had to figure out solutions that would make the massive space feel established while staying within budget. We chose vinyl banners over permanent signs, moveable panels over wrapped wall graphics.
Favorite details: We made the game lines pattern as part of our initial exploration and it remained throughout the project. It’s a great representation of the brand and can be used in many different ways. One of our favorite details of the space is the exterior signage. We needed a way to draw attention to the entrance that wasn’t cost-prohibitive. The big arrow is eye-catching from across the parking lot and close-up, and the hand-painted “Come on in” above the door is such a fun detail.
Visual influences: We were inspired by childhood nostalgia and the idea of community. The blacktop game lines and the picnic table in the logo best illustrate this idea. We remembered that feeling of recess as a kid, and asked ourselves, “How can we translate that feeling visually, and in a way that appeals to adults?” Part of the solution came through in the tagline, Saturday Every Day. When you’re a kid, every day feels like Saturday. Recess is a place where you can get that feeling all week long.
Specific demands: The cavernous size of the warehouse and the fact that the first location is a pop-up influenced every decision we made. During initial walk-throughs, it was hard to imagine what the end result would look like because of the sheer size. We worked with local architects, printers and lettering artists to complete the space and make the designs feel intentional.