Identity Development

for CA Residential
The Buckler Website Landing Page
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Milwaukee's New Best

Mention Milwaukee and two things spring to mind: beer and baseball. Calatrava aside, what doesn’t spring to mind is anything terribly ra-sha-sha. But Milwaukee is seeing a surge of well-paid workers attracted to a growing creative scene and lower cost-of-living compared to Chicago, one hour to the south.

Sensing opportunity, a long-vacant office mid-rise was acquired for a song, and so began the development of Milwaukee’s first Class A apartment tower.

The Buckler Logo Options 1 - 3
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THE BRIEF

The agency was tasked with developing the name and brand identity. We also teamed up with the interior designer and landscape architect to develop environmental graphics.

Directionally, our task was to make a bold statement without ostracizing our audience. Milwaukee is not Miami, so while we wanted to convey sophistication and luxury, the building and the brand needed to feel like it was a product of the city, not the product of outside developers and agencies.

The Buckler Logo Options 4 - 6
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THE NAME

The ideal residential conversion is of a building with lots of character and storied history. Unfortunately, 401 W. Michigan Avenue was not that. Instead, it was an unloved, 11-story black wedge, built in 1973 and vacant for over a decade. But still, people in Milwaukee are like people everywhere else: they take great pride in their city, so a name that felt like it just came off the Strip was never going to fly. Instead, we knew we needed to anchor ourselves in the local and its history.

Sometimes, it’s tough to get there. But this time, it was easy. Round two revisions were scrapped, the schedule breathed a sigh of relief, and The Buckler was born: the ideal name, we argued, because while nice and roll-off-the-tongue-y, it still did some conceptual heavy-lifting:

  • The building was a few blocks away from the arena that’s home to Milwaukee’s beloved Bucks.
  • Second, a buckler is “a small round shield held by the handle or worn all the forearm,” a (very) sly nod to the building’s original occupant: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin.
  • Third, it’s got a sophisticated tenor while remaining approachable, exactly what Milwaukee has been craving.
The Buckler Style Guide
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THE MARK

With the naming complete next up was the logo. Our approach to logo development follows a similar course as the name. Round 1 is fast and loose — with a focus on volume over refinement. General directions are chosen and abandoned, and over the course of two or three rounds, options are finalized.

The design approaches play with different aspects of the architecture (a block with a lopped-off corner), the location (the downtown grid), and the name (the shield and the letter B). And while creative always hope their clients choose the "out there" option, 9 times out of 10, the more conservative approach wins the day. The client selected the stylized “double B” crest in this case. The simplicity of the mark, and the allusions to heraldry, resonated with the client most.

The Buckler Website Landing Page
No items found.

Milwaukee's New Best

Mention Milwaukee and two things spring to mind: beer and baseball. Calatrava aside, what doesn’t spring to mind is anything terribly ra-sha-sha. But Milwaukee is seeing a surge of well-paid workers attracted to a growing creative scene and lower cost-of-living compared to Chicago, one hour to the south.

Sensing opportunity, a long-vacant office mid-rise was acquired for a song, and so began the development of Milwaukee’s first Class A apartment tower.

The Buckler Logo Options 1 - 3
No items found.
THE BRIEF

The agency was tasked with developing the name and brand identity. We also teamed up with the interior designer and landscape architect to develop environmental graphics.

Directionally, our task was to make a bold statement without ostracizing our audience. Milwaukee is not Miami, so while we wanted to convey sophistication and luxury, the building and the brand needed to feel like it was a product of the city, not the product of outside developers and agencies.

The Buckler Logo Options 4 - 6
No items found.
THE NAME

The ideal residential conversion is of a building with lots of character and storied history. Unfortunately, 401 W. Michigan Avenue was not that. Instead, it was an unloved, 11-story black wedge, built in 1973 and vacant for over a decade. But still, people in Milwaukee are like people everywhere else: they take great pride in their city, so a name that felt like it just came off the Strip was never going to fly. Instead, we knew we needed to anchor ourselves in the local and its history.

Sometimes, it’s tough to get there. But this time, it was easy. Round two revisions were scrapped, the schedule breathed a sigh of relief, and The Buckler was born: the ideal name, we argued, because while nice and roll-off-the-tongue-y, it still did some conceptual heavy-lifting:

  • The building was a few blocks away from the arena that’s home to Milwaukee’s beloved Bucks.
  • Second, a buckler is “a small round shield held by the handle or worn all the forearm,” a (very) sly nod to the building’s original occupant: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin.
  • Third, it’s got a sophisticated tenor while remaining approachable, exactly what Milwaukee has been craving.
The Buckler Style Guide
No items found.
THE MARK

With the naming complete next up was the logo. Our approach to logo development follows a similar course as the name. Round 1 is fast and loose — with a focus on volume over refinement. General directions are chosen and abandoned, and over the course of two or three rounds, options are finalized.

The design approaches play with different aspects of the architecture (a block with a lopped-off corner), the location (the downtown grid), and the name (the shield and the letter B). And while creative always hope their clients choose the "out there" option, 9 times out of 10, the more conservative approach wins the day. The client selected the stylized “double B” crest in this case. The simplicity of the mark, and the allusions to heraldry, resonated with the client most.

Milwaukee's New Best

Mention Milwaukee and two things spring to mind: beer and baseball. Calatrava aside, what doesn’t spring to mind is anything terribly ra-sha-sha. But Milwaukee is seeing a surge of well-paid workers attracted to a growing creative scene and lower cost-of-living compared to Chicago, one hour to the south.

Sensing opportunity, a long-vacant office mid-rise was acquired for a song, and so began the development of Milwaukee’s first Class A apartment tower.

The Buckler Website Landing Page
No items found.
PROJeCT ROLE
Creative Director
RESPONSIBILITIES
Research, Naming, Art Direction, Design
PROJECT TYPE
Name, Logo, Brand
PARTNERS
Client: CA Residential
Agency: Mauge
Designer: Allison McGuinness