In 2014, longstanding St. Louis construction firms Millstone Bangert and Fred Weber merged to form Millstone Weber. They wanted to reach new markets and partner with architectural firms on design-driven projects. Our challenge was to design a brand identity that reflected the combined strength of these two companies. Another challenge: we only had two weeks to create the logo.
In the discovery process, we identified the core values that motivate Millstone Weber’s work: advise, plan, build, innovate, and deliver. The brand attributes, i.e. descriptive words we wanted to highlight were creative, strong, strategic advisors, trustworthy, foresight, and safe practices.
The client liaison requested a iconic mark that would serve as a graphic shorthand for the new company’s mission. He trusted my team’s guidance, but expressed a preference for symbols over a monogram or other typographic solutions. So what did we do? We explored many concepts, narrowed our options, and then we designed a monogram. Thankfully, we managed to encapsulate Millstone Weber’s combined strengths and values. The client was thrilled with the results.
Below is a mood board showing just a small selection of our design research and inspiration, followed by the final logo and various applications.
Our core brand concept was based on the fact that Fred Weber and Millstone Bangert had over 185 years of combined construction experience. Their desire was that the new business would be greater than the sum of its parts.
The monogram’s interlocking shapes form a hexagon, a shape found all over construction sites from honeycomb foundations to bolts. The simple geometric construction readily lent itself to graphic shapes, patterns, and animation. We created two versions: a solid two-color mark and a single-color outlined version. This allows for flexibility and variety, and the combination refers to the ideas of internal structure and external design.
For the brand typography, we selected a single font family. Kris Sowersby’s Metric is a strong, crystal-clear sans serif. Metric is characterized by “engineered geometry” as Sowersby says on his website, with elliptical details that give it a friendly charm, and excellent legibility at all sizes from business cards to cranes. For the logotype, we drew custom M and W capitals that mimicked the mirroring effect found in the monogram.
Finally, Millstone Weber is devoted to sustainability and efficiency. Bright green was the natural choice for their primary brand color. We anchored it with a dark cool gray, the color of wet concrete.
This work was done in partnership with Grain, and co-designed by Ariana Schopp and Jason Tasso.
Powerhouse – unused concept
Sometimes I propose a single direction for a client’s brand identity. In this case, we had two strong ideas that we presented to the client. This second option is based on the notion that strong reputations are built upon character that is repeatedly tested and proven. Today, Millstone Weber has a solid presence in the Midwest. They want to broaden their national reach. Beyond that, their vision is to cultivate an international presence.
We believed that their Midwestern roots could be an asset on the world stage. The logo concept draws from this heritage and personality. The bison is at home among the rolling hills and enormous skies of the North American prairie. To Native Americans, the bison is associated with strength, wisdom, abundance, courage, consistency and stability. The bison is a force to be reckoned with. At home and abroad, Millstone Weber has the opportunity to become known as synonymous with “Made in America” in terms of quality and innovation.
At the end of the day, all of us agreed that the MW monogram was a better reflection of who Millstone Weber is and where they’re going. But the bison was pretty awesome. May he graze in peace!