When leading communication services multinational WPP decided to brand its new Amsterdam campus, they turned to us to develop a name, brand identity and overall attitude and tone of voice. Not only did the identity need to capture the creative DNA of all 15 of WPP’s Dutch agencies and their sum total of 1500 employees, it also needed to establish the campus as an important new landmark in the city of Amsterdam. The end result was a total brand identity immersed into every aspect of the campus – from logotype, iconography, wayfinding and tone to custom furniture, interactive installations and statement walls. Moving forward, the conceptual framework we created will be applied to other WPP campuses around the world.
We named the campus Amsteldok. Its name references the campus’s location on the banks of the Amstel River, Amsterdam’s maritime history and the city’s current status as an important gateway to Europe. We wanted a logotype that was directly inspired by the physical structure and found the Amsterdam School of Architecture – an expressive 20th century style predominant throughout the city – an important inspiration for our typographic forms. We envisioned a dynamic logotype that mimicked the campus’s urban verticality, and a graphic language that fully embraced the campus strategy as a ‘breathing space that breaks down walls’. Responsible for all physical and digital environments, we were in a unique position to use design to bring all 15 WPP agencies together. Design would contribute to the campus as a living entity, not just another staid structure. A campus that breathes creativity and collaboration.
Like all signature Amsterdam School structures, we embedded the identity into the physical campus: tactile hero signage, typographic floor furniture, etched wall renderings, crafted directory totem and embossed counters. The logotype also functions as a template for all online/digital programming and communication – from digital posters, announcements and social events (speaker programs). The colour palette was also directly derived from the architectural materials used by the architects. Wayfinding was an integral part of the spatial experience. We designed playful wayfinding icons that reflect familiar Dutch things – bike icons that look like the ones you find on Amsterdam streets, glass icons in the shape of Heineken glasses, etc. All these elements contribute to a real campus identity and unite 15 radically different WPP agencies as a single whole.