Creative direction
Bringing a brand to life through spatial/digital environments and print design.

A decades old brand seen in a new way.

Grainger asked to create an immersive environment in the heart of Chicago. Their new headquarter space in the iconic Merchandise Mart was a big change for a traditional company. Shifting hundreds of employees to a new location was imminent, but still nerve-racking for the company and its talent. Aiming to alleviate doubts and create familiarity, we set out on a goal to create an immersive experience using traditions to create new experiences.   

Adding a new headquarters in Chicago was a big deal for the Chicago-based client. It was important for all members of the clients team to have the space feel familiar as they are integrated into the new headquarters environment. Maps, provisions, walking distances, and building amenities were important to share in context of a familiar, but-forward thinking, branded booklet. 

Environmental Graphics
The environmental graphics in this space sought to take the established brand and find its experiential opportunities. The clients new location was selected to emphasize its need and ability to be placed in a major city center. This gives Grainger’s clients access to the best resources and services. The challenge was creating a newly branded immersive environment, using pre-existing guidelines with the goal of representing what it feels like to be at the new location. 

Not out with the old,
just redefining 'new'.

The Guide Process

the values

Having an established client with so many resources posed as both an asset and challenge. After meeting with the client, group leaders, and groups, enough information was gathered to understand the fundamentals of the company and its moving parts. The company was founded on the tradition of doing dependable work and finding advanced solutions to help other businesses thrive. 


Working with the client, words were discovered that best represented the client, most appeared in their materials, and core values. These words were then translated into aesthetic "values" to be inserted into the equation that would "produce" the foundations for the Grainger Guide Book and also apply to environmental graphics. 

Operational : Clear
Dependable : Robust
Solvers : Procedural
Established : Familiar
Efficient : Transparent
Global : Identity
Future Use

While this guide book contains some content that only pertains to this specific urban location, it slowly evolved into a digital and printed form that could pertain to all Grainger locations and new employees. Just as the research began focusing on the core of the company, fundamental values and information about Grainger remained in the book while specific "How-To's" populated a pre-formatted layout. 

Timeline, Letter to the Employees, Tagline Spreads, were some of the elements that now populate each booklet while other information is swapped out to feature other location information.

The environmental Graphics process

Evolving the standard environment.

The same information gathered and used in the booklet applied to all aspects of this new space. Core values, history, and what it means to be a Grainger employee now needed to be woven into the physical space. Natural elements, wood materials and materials found in the Grainger catalogue were used to create the physical signage and create a visual identity. Grainger's signature red was used sparingly though-out the space, seeking to make the biggest impact. Black and white graphics were half-toned- a nod to the printed catalogues produced at Grainger's beginnings. Half toned imagery worked with modern sleek clean signage and typefaces to create a progressive look grounded in historical context.