Spire presented several concepts toward the creation of a “signature car” for the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay event. BMW was an official sponsor of the event and provided a 540iL series vehicle which served as the “canvas” for the graphic treatment. The vehicle was an interactive document to the event. Spire updated and revised graphics on a 24-hour basis to keep up with the enthusiasm of the real time event.
Each state which the torch relay crossed was represented on the surface of the automobile in a rough approximation to its neighbors. The route of the relay was documented on a daily basis. Arrows provided a window to depict the method by which the torch was carried (runner, bicycle, boat, etc.).
All city-stops were indicated by an iconographic device. At each stop a dignitary signed the vehicle. The car contains hundreds of important signatures and stands as a living document to the event. The vehicle resides at BMW’s Centrum Museum in Spartanburg, SC.
The Spire team worked hand-in-hand with BMW factory professionals to prepare the vehicle. Careful pre-planning still required many hours of fine tuning on the automotive surface to visualize the results before painting commenced. The cooperative spirit and “what-ever-it-takes” attitude prevailed during the final creative and preparatory stages. Each state was individually painted to insure superb quality and durability, finished to show car standards.
After the success of the Olympic Signature Car, Spire was asked by BMW to create an equally engaging campaign in their support of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The result was The Ultimate Drive. For each mile you test drive, BMW donates a dollar to the Foundation, with the goal to raise a million dollars. Each participant was able to then sign the flagship vehicle as a testament of their support of breast cancer research. The fleet of test-drive vehicles and the flagship signature car travelled across the country during the nine-month event.
The design challenge was to how to fit over 15,000 signatures in an organized and elegant manner. The creative (and sometimes scientific) team at Spire derived a controlled system that allows the signatures to cover the 7 Series beautifully by the end of the event.
Survivors of breast cancer, doctors, and other prominent individuals in breast cancer research were honored with a portrait on the Signature Car.
The success of this campaign was followed for 11 more years of BMW's support of the Komen Foundation. BMW raised more than $12 million dollars. The Spire team had designed 12 different Signature Cars and the fleet vehicles, every year a unique design and theme. Take a look at one of our favorites.
The BMW Ultimate Drive for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was in its 4th year, when Spire designed the surface graphics for flagship signature X5. The event travelled across the U.S. to raise a million dollars for the cause.
This engaging surface delightfully masks hundreds of hours of careful planning. The information presented on the "skin" of the BMW X5 was carefully preplanned to accept over 15,000 signatures. Each signature represented test miles translated into benefit dollars for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Spire's assignment was to create a surface that celebrated BMW's achievement with the capabilities of its X5 vehicle, while appealing to participants to sign the vehicle and contribute to a crucial health cause.
An imaginary landscape was derived that incorporated every kind of typographic surface. The file created to generate this map was huge -- drawn at 100% scale, printed on a thin, durable vinyl, and in conjunction with many painted details, applied to the vehicle. The surface was also designed to accommodate signatures as the event traverse the country. Planning for accurate coverage of the vehicle, over a 180-day timeframe, while assuring an even distribution of final signatures required immense planning and continually corrective modifications.
Spire handled the US press event for the release of the Mazda MX-3. The concept was to showcase the artfulness of design and engineering for what was a brilliant compact automotive design. Paintings were commissioned and created for the walls of the space and a backdrop of canvas and oil paint served to stage the vehicle. The idea was carried to the extreme — we partially disassembled the vehicle in order to bring it up an elevator in New York's trendy Tribeca district. The press was supplied with maps and passes to art events after the briefing of the car. Spire worked on every aspect of the program from press kit collateral, invitations, and full size oil paintings to follow up tickets, passes, and maps. We had 100% attendance of all the invitees — which, for Mazda, was a first. The paintings hung in Mazda's headquarters for many years after the event.
At Spire, we usually handle the creative process all the way through to execution, but our team is also adept at turning other’s concepts into reality. It is crucial to understand the vehicle painting process and how shapes take form on the surface of a vehicle. The original art provided to us were created on a computer for a 2 dimensional surface - to follow that exact layout, it would've taken over 20 applications of paint to get the layered look. With only one week of allowed production time, 20 layers of paint was not an option. The Spire team ultimately was able to break down the design to 4 layers of paint in unique shades of grey so the results visually corresponded with the original artwork.
Vehicle vinyl graphics for the Rolls-Royce Pace Car.
Spire values the importance of understanding the medium of vinyl graphics for fleet vehicles. We take your brand and respectfully extend it to the surface of the vehicle, so both elements complement each other. Our aesthetic philosophy is make sure the artwork does not hide the beauty of the vehicle.
Ancient and yet anatomically correct, Poseidon has been the Barney
Greengrass mascot for nearly one hundred years. When we set out to update a rather awkward logo our first thought was to save every ounce of branding value extant. The logo was "updated" with a dual band incorporating a modified Copperplate typefaces and sturgeons. Subtle design method was employed to represent sea, sky, and rocks. Posideon was granted godly
A carefully designed color scheme, balancing the classic deli with a clean tasteful palette was developed. The business card (distributed by the hundreds from small custom displays on the counter) was die cut to accentuate the circular logo.
Spire went on to develop an extensive, and very cost effective, branding plan for Barney Greengrass. Everything from the planning of a photoshoot where "ice" was illuminated on glass sheets to exhibiting the Greengrass delicacies; to packaging of caviar and coffee; to an extensive yet simple website navigation was created. Spire is proud to continually supply Barney Greengrass with an ongoing commitment to consistent and elegant graphics. This project proves out the notion that a well conceived initial branding is ready for any communication challenge.
American Natural is an energy company with its initial fueling stations situated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Spire created an “immersive” identity and structural visualization model for the company. A custom typeface was created based upon the font Memphis. A logo/symbol, based on CH4 — one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. So the logo/symbol is actually a picture of their product at the elemental level. Another interesting idea was that the background of the logo would be polarized low contrast images of the site that their station would replace (in Pittsburgh building means tearing down some current structure). The Spire team photographed the old cinder block manufacturing plant a my Leica R8. We then designed a 1/18 scale model (built by Max Steiner) with design cues of Jules Verne, modernism, and a touch of futurism. We delivered an in-depth portfolio of these design cues to their architect and interior designer. Our graphics were deployed with 95% accuracy, and the 3D photographs, renderings, and models with about 80% accuracy — mostly due to cost savings. This concept, of developing immersive design guides and inspirational models, proved effective in keeping all stakeholders informed during the development of programs. In this example we deployed the RAPID PROTOTYPING hot team concept to create excitement within the group and rapid build out of the brand. Our objective was to create rapid adoption of specific brand, that might otherwise be lost within a commodity product (energy). The guides were broken into three types: Symbol and Semantic — Form and Light — and Usability and consumer adoption.
Information design is about prediction. This may be most self evident in tools such as this user experience for stock trading. Spire strives to make complex things simple, available, and easy to respond to. Sometimes this doesn't always look to be the case, but professionals adapt to tools quickly because the benefits of their usefulness become quickly apparent.
The Spire team is constantly subjected to intense learning curves; this serves our clients well – they benefit from obtaining well designed tools that are intuitive and not simply built around deceptively familiar frameworks.
Our challenge was to create an identity and signage program for Genesis BBQ’s
franchise food establishments. Genesis BBQ has nearly 8000 restaurant facilities
in South Korea (the letters BBQ do not convey the immediate notion of
barbecue as it does in the United States).
The challenge of working against a very strong predetermined letter-combination was considerable. Spire developed a highly modernist version of the bb.q letterforms in a lowercase arrangement, additionally adding a “dot” between the bb and the q in order to signify an alteration to what might be, we developed a structural lighting scheme for the restaurants. The initial “overseas” facility was built in Tokyo, Japan. At present seventy-five facilities have been converted to our look, with hundreds planned for updating in the following years. In addition a Korean Hangul letterform design, to match the Roman letterforms was developed.
One of Spire’s most challenging information design projects was to create a “Blackout Procedures” manual for Con Edison’s central plant in Astoria, New York. Research was the main ingredient which led to a simplified workbook whereby critical tasks could be initialed and time stamped. This insured a coordinated start up in the event of a partial or total blackout.