Patch identity positions its spaces as community “lighthouses”

Ali Hanson Studio created “minimal, graphic and immediately recognisable” icons designed to represent each Patch location.

Ali Hanson Studio and Opening Line has devised a brand identity for social impact-driven company Patch, with an “architectural” logo, a colour palette that links to its brand idea of acting as a “lighthouse” for local communities, and a “neighbourly tone of voice”.

Patch transforms buildings with “interesting social histories” into local centres for work, culture and community. It was founded in 2020 by Freddie Fforde and has since been led by its head of product and creative director Paloma Strelitz – previously co-founder and partner at multidisciplinary design collective Assemble – setting up its first space in Chelmsford in Autumn 2021.

Studio founder Ali Hanson says he worked with Patch to create “a localised identity and signage system” for the Chelmsford space. He was then commissioned to work with the company again in Autumn 2022 to evolve the master brand as it moves forward to set up more locations across the UK.

Naresh Ramchandani – who led the brand strategy for the project – carried out workshops with Hanson and the Patch team, resulting in the new brand idea “A lighthouse for local life”. Hanson says this “spoke to the idea that Patch is an organisation that exists to shine a light on local community culture and is a place for people to work, discover and meet on their local high street”.

FK Screamer was chosen for the logotype for its “condensed lettering style, architectural presence and gravitas”, according to Hanson. The logotype has an intentionally universal look so it can work alongside the different building icons that symbolise each Patch location, he adds.

The same font is also used for the primary typeface in a bid to create a “recognisable brand element” throughout key communications, says Hanson.

“One of the aspects I love most about Patch is its mission to respond to an outdated centralisation narrative that big cities are where things happen”, says Hanson. The studio sought to communicate this through the “lighthouse icons” designed to convey the unique characteristics of each Patch site.

Hanson says he opted for a “minimal, graphic and immediately recognisable” style for the icons that would work at multiple sizes as he wanted each symbol to be “as true to each building as possible whilst also working within certain visual proportions”.

Ali Hanson Studio looked to incorporate the lighthouse brand concept into the colour palette with a warm yellow/peach colour combined with a darker blue. Hanson says the pairing of these contrasting hues aims to give Patch’s colour palette “an illuminating quality”. The company’s secondary palette was chosen to work as background shades to type, illustration and imagery across its day-to-day communications.

Patch’s new suite of illustrations were created by Linn Fritz. She was chosen for her “one-colour style” that has “graphic and communicative qualities” and characters that “feel equally distinct and unified”, says Hanson.

Verbal branding studio Opening Line founder Zosia Swidlicka developed Patch’s verbal identity, with its central positioning statement, “Here comes the neighbourhood”. Hanson describes it as “a unifying call to arms”, which reflects “the optimism and opportunity that Patch aims to foster”. Swidlicka also devised a number of supporting key messages and a set of verbal tone of voice principles.

The brand identity will roll out across multiple Patch sites across the UK and is now live across its website and digital channels. Its second site in High Wycombe has recently opened and Hanson completed the signage and wayfinding system for the space along with a series of printed materials such as posters.

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