We're Studio SC, an environmental graphic design firm based in Seattle.
In our work, we love to create dialogues between people and their environments, through everything from signage and graphics to print and identity. We hope to create dialogues here too, by sharing things that inspire us, cool industry news, and our projects.
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2014 Nine Inning Lunch

Every year, in the height of July, we take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to enjoy a leisurely afternoon at Safeco Field. This annual event is known as the Nine Inning Lunch.

This year the Nine Inning Lunch coincided with National Hot Dog Day.

Hot dogs? Yes please!

After a stop at Joe’s Gourmet Grilled Dogs, we made our way through the stadium, first stopping for a pint, and then finding our seats to watch the Seattle Mariners play the New York Mets. And take selfies.

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After several consecutive years of sunny ballpark weather, we knew we were due for a rainy one. Luckily, Safeco is equipped with a retractable roof! We always like to get out of our seats and walk around the stadium to take in the atmosphere and check out any new snack options. Since our team consists solely of wayfinding and environmental graphics devotees, we also appreciate any opportunity to see some great neon signage, and Safeco is hardly lacking in that area.

The game got REAL during the 8th and 9th innings when the Mariners closed the lead the Mets had established earlier. They still lost, but we felt like champs on our walk back to the studio.

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World Cup Fan Watching

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We’ve been soaking up all the best of the 2014 World Cup at Studio SC (the conference room has been temporarily transformed into a sports lounge). There really is nothing like the excitement of World Cup, even the Olympics can’t really compare.

It’s the best thing.

And the best thing about World Cup is watching the drama in the stands! Especially during any game featuring Holland. Their reactions to every play, their energy and cheers, and most of all, their amazing costumes are a continuous source of entertainment. It’s some serious schadenfreude (ahem, Germany) watching fans cry too. Who knew tears could be so delicious?

So how does one show their team spirit? Well, based on what we’ve seen, there are three categories: face and/or body paint, national flag inspired costume, and good old fashioned crazy. Here are our favorites:

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TEAM: Holland

CATEGORY: Good Old Fashioned Crazy

The Dutch win the costume contest HANDS down. So. Much. Orange.
While the Dutch may have lost to Argentina in the semi-finals, they still have this guy:

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CARROTS! We sincerely hope this orange fellow will be in the stands at the third place game with even more carrots and even more crazy. While he looks pleasantly offbeat here, do not cross him. Repeat, DO NOT cross him! This is his game face (shudders):

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While we’re on the subject, do not to mess with this Brazil fan either, because yikes:

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TEAM: Brazil

CATEGORY: Good Old Fashioned Crazy + National Flag Inspired

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Oh Brazil, you so crazy! Green, yellow, and blue everything!

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Even teeth!

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Brazil truly knows how to entertain! You know who else knows how to entertain? Argentina.

Behold:

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TEAM: Argentina

CATEGORY: Good Old Fashioned Crazy + National Flag Inspired + Face Paint

Argentina fans check all the boxes; they’re decked out in their blue, white and gold, faces primed and painted (see header image), and they have that extra, homemade, DIY factor too!

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We’re looking forward to watching the Argentina fans at the final match on Sunday. They’re playing a team with some great fans too:

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TEAM: Germany

CATEGORY: Face Paint + National Fag Inspired

Hey Germany, you guys are good, real good. And that face paint and headgear combo is pretty good too. But we could use a little more crazy in the costume department!

See you Sunday!

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Artful Navigation Leads the Way

The Seattle Children’s Hospital wayfinding and graphics program eases navigation through a growing campus while offering an ongoing source of serenity and imagination. Our challenge was to balance signage clarity and brand warmth within a complex system that unified old and new parts of the hospital experience.

Prior to this project Seattle Children’s was divided into six zones with undefined boundaries and naming that did not reflect the hospital’s brand. We simplified the hospital’s navigational structure from six to four zones – Ocean, Mountain, River and Forest. Each Pacific-Northwest-inspired zone now has a specific name, color and icon to reflect the geographic region served by the hospital.

The heart of the project is the illustrative artwork that reinforces identification for each zone. Floor-to-ceiling murals appear at the entrances to zones, bringing to life the landscapes and animals found in each namesake region. From a bear and its cubs playing in the forest to a family of otters swimming in the ocean, the zone murals reflect the hospital’s brand of compassionate care through the pairing and interaction of animals in healing environments.

The signage program’s components compliment the murals and reinforce zone identification within the hospital while providing clear wayfinding information. Elevators are named after distinctive animals found in each zone. A single color for each zone unifies directories and directional signs. Icons appear as large illuminated disks at zone entries and in smaller scale on every room sign. Finally, we created a room numbering strategy based on zone, subzone, level and room number to help patient families and code response teams understand quickly where specific rooms are located.

All together, the hospital-wide navigation system and graphics program unites Seattle Children’s expanded footprint and creates an emotional connection to the hospital’s brand by calming anxieties and offering positive distractions for kids of all ages.

Photography by Lara Swimmer Photography

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WSCC: Pacific Northwest Inspired Environmental Graphics

After updating the exterior signs at the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC), it’s time to rework the core of the WSCC: the offices used by administrative personnel, operations staff and event planners.

Our designs are intentionally subtle, textural, and atmospheric. They will frame key interior architectural features including a series of art walls in shades of solid green ranging from emerald to a deep turquoise.

Timber holds a special place in Washington “The Evergreen” State history and our new graphics celebrate this region’s unique connection to the natural environment. A large-scale WSCC logo created out of locally sourced lumber will be installed in the lobby. In a subtle nod to the crisp Seattle weather, rainfall inspired patterns will be applied to windows with a translucent white film. The wood grain orientation in the logo echoes the pattern and direction of the rainfall graphics and establishes continuity in the program.

The environmental graphics are meant to provide background for all the happenings at WSCC — quietly and elegantly expressing a Pacific Northwest sense of place.

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1111 Third: Garage Makeover

We’ve all been there, lost in the parking maze praying our car is actually there and not ditched on the side of the road after being stolen for a getaway vehicle. The only thing more annoying than being lost in a parking garage is being lost in a dark, creepy parking garage. But there is redemption, oh yes. In this unsightly complex of concrete and cars that are not yours (seriously, where did you park?) redemption comes in the form of organization, color, and markers that help you find your way around. Redemption comes in the form of environmental graphics.

At 1111 Third, our graphics program transformed an ordinary looking parking garage into a happy place. A happy place you want to park in.

Our program uses bright, fun colors painted on entire walls and garage columns making it very obvious on which level you have parked (oh right, you’re on green level “A”, of course). Large-scale graphics visually connect the parking garage to the lobby and base graphics program extending the reach of the building’s brand. The type is energetic and the scale of the lettering is in-your-face big… in the best sense!

This is a simple, cost-effective program with a lot of impact. The parking garage is the gateway through which many key clients and executives will enter and exit the building. It’s the front door. When you only have 7 seconds to make a good impression and your garage is looking less than fresh, what does that say about the rest of the building?

Need more proof of the power of environmental graphics? Check out the before and after photos above.

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The Westin Building Exchange

The Westin Building Exchange (WBX) has undergone a transformation: a new name, new website and now, new building graphics. Studio SC designed a comprehensive environmental graphics program that reinforces the progressive approach of the WBX management team and visually asserts their position as a leader in colocation real estate.

WBX provides high-performance, customizable, and attractive data storage units that are vital to the efficiency and security of telecommunications and internet carriers. It was important that the graphics reflect the quality of their services while distinctively expressing the confidence and expertise of the company.

Building signage displays navigational information on articulated panels. The clean, exact edges and smooth surfaces of the signage reflect the polished and precise look of the technological systems housed within the building. Further enhancing the look are linear wall graphics — inspired by digital coding and information streaming — installed at the entries to colocation suites and other key identification and directional locations. Additionally, all colors in the program correspond with the new brand palette to unify the company’s web presence and physical space.

The new graphics program expresses the company’s welcoming and confident management style while easing building navigation. Equipped with a strong brand presence WBX has an edge in the fast-growing market of data storage.

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Pacific Avenue Wayfinding 2.0

The City of Tacoma is brimming with industrial allure and quirky Pacific Northwest history. From its wealth of “ghost signage” on historic brick buildings, to the network of bridges and waterways, and finally, the unique landscape created by Puget Sound and Mount Rainier, the city has a visual identity that is entirely “Tacoma.”

As a compliment to the downtown wayfinding program, we designed a concept for a mobile site that showcases additional anecdotes, images and slideshows, video content, maps and more about the very spot each sign is located. After diving into the history of the city while developing the downtown project, our team was compelled to take the connection between people and their environment further. The digital extension enables pedestrians to learn more about Tacoma’s fascinating past while enhancing their experience through present-day downtown. Implementation could be as simple as printing a QR Code alongside the pedestrian level information on the body of each sign. Users scan the code with their mobile device to access the additional content and explore the other sign locations as well.

A versatile component of the mobile site is a 360º view of each sign location. The panorama highlights historic buildings and landmarks in addition to calling out places of interest including restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions by pulling data from Internet listings of nearby retail, restaurants, and attractions. This feature encourages pedestrians to interact with local businesses and has the potential to become a revenue generator if advertising space is incorporated into the mobile site.

Our aim was to create a cutting-edge yet realistic opportunity to showcase the city’ s fascinating history, promote local businesses, and expand the story of Tacoma. Watch the video presentation above and let us know what you think in the comments.

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May Your Holidays Be Merry and Bright

Studio SC wishes you a merry and bright holiday season!

We spent a freezing-yet-fun evening on Seattle’s Pier 63 taking long exposure photographs of our team creating this year’s holiday message. We then compiled over 50 photographs to make some movie magic!

Watch our special 2013 holiday message light up in the video above.

Happy Holidays!

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2013 Landmark Series: The Eagle

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[This is the final installment of our 2013 New Year’s Resolution to reacquaint ourselves with Seattle’s great icons. Download the calendar and join the conversation! Check out November’s landmark, “Space Needle”, and come back soon for the latest news at Studio SC!]

Poised to take flight over Puget Sound is, The Eagle, a dynamic, 39-foot tall, monumental sculpture by artist Alexander Calder. Created at the pinnacle of Calder’s career, the bright red, steel construction points upward and outward in an expression of momentum. Like our city, The Eagle is a balance of power and lightness; it’s a strong form that is also playful, exuberant, and works harmoniously with its surroundings.

Having traveled cross-country as a young man, the Pennsylvania-born Calder experienced a transformation in the Pacific Northwest. While working for a logging camp in Independence, WA, Calder was so inspired by the landscape he wrote to his mother requesting paints and brushes. It was during his time in our region that he decided to pursue art as his vocation!

Originally commissioned for the Fort Worth National Bank in 1971, The Eagle was acquired in 2000 for the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park (the Olympic Sculpture Park opened in 2007). Calder is perhaps the best-known American sculptor to date and the procurement of a large-scale work by an artist of his caliber is significant for the city as it helps to establish Seattle as a major metropolitan cultural center.

The Eagle is dramatically set in the foreground of a vast outlook across Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains. It’s bold form and strong color are in perfect balance to the natural blues and purples of the scenery. It punctuates the physical beauty of the region. 

Although it was designed for an entirely different environment, the forms found in The Eagle are cut, carved and shaped for this place.

View The Eagle at the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, which is free and open to the public every day, 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

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2013 Landmark Series: The Space Needle

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[This is part of our ongoing New Year’s Resolution to reacquaint ourselves with Seattle’s great icons. Download the calendar and join the conversation! Check out October’s landmark, “A Sound Garden”, and come back in December for a look at Calder’s, “Eagle”.]

The Space Cage. The 400-Day Wonder. Both are pseudonyms for the iconic Space Needle; a 605 foot tall structure that defines the Seattle skyline and welcomes over 1 million visitors every year to enjoy views of the Cascades, Olympics, Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, and the city itself. The Space Needle is not only THE official Seattle landmark, it is the number 1 tourist attraction in Washington State and remains a symbol of Seattle’s forward-thinking community more than 50 years after it’s initial construction.

The Space Needle was built as an architectural centerpiece for the 1962 World’s Fair, appropriately themed Century 21 in an era dominated by headlines of the Space Race. Looking back, 1962 was a pivotal year for Seattle and its spirit of ingenuity continues to inspire. When it was first constructed, the Needle was the tallest building west of the Mississippi river and truly was an innovation that set a new standard for World’s Fair legacy structures. It also changed the international opinion of Seattle from a blue-collar port city to a modern metropolis.

It’s form inspired by the world’s first telecommunications tower in Stuttgart, Germany, the sinuous Space Needle is built to withstand an earthquake magnitude of over a 9 on the Richter scale and winds up to 200mph, in other words, it can withstand a category 5 hurricane. That is twice the building code requirements in 1962, a testament to the future-oriented attitude of the original design team.

In keeping with the Century 21 theme, the Needle was painted Astronaut White for the tower, Orbital Olive for the core, Re-Entry Red for the halo, and Galaxy Gold for the roof. Galaxy Gold made a 6-month reappearance on the roof of the Needle in honor of the 50th anniversary in 2012. During the anniversary, the Seattle Center’s Next Fifty Festival engaged Seattleites in discussions about our near future: sustainable resources, science and technology.  

Often referred to as the “logo” of Seattle, a vital function of the Space Needle is that of cultural center. Located just outside of the downtown retail core, and adjacent to the emerging biotechnology hub in South Lake Union, our Space Needle presides over the Seattle Center’s attractions including the Science Fiction Museum and Pacific Science Center. It hosts the city’s annual New Year fireworks display, and even the occasional alien. It’s a tangible expression of our community’s progressive style and eccentric charm.

Photo: Chewbacca7, via flickr

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Allen Institute Environmental Graphics

As part of our concept development for a new project, our team is diving into a complex subject: the human brain.

Studio SC is designing an environmental graphics program for the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a non-profit medical research organization dedicated to accelerating the understanding of how the brain functions in health and disease, which is moving to a new headquarters in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Situated squarely in the city’s hub for life sciences, the new facility will house all research teams and technology, including custom designed robots and computing systems able to process petabytes of data, under one roof for the first time.

An exciting element of the graphics program is an exterior media wall that will span the corner of 9th Street and Broad Street. Beneath a glass canopy, the 180’ wall extends a unique opportunity for the public to interact with the truly mind-blowing research happening within the building.

For the media wall, we’re exploring the development of neuron patterns with symbols including: arrows, letters, and binary code. Multiple layers of graphics will be utilized to mimic the complexity of neurological system. By focusing on the anatomy of the brain, which is unchanging, the installation will continue to be relevant even as research and scientific development demystify how the brain works. Incorporating lo-tech LED lighting and color applications, with display settings for both daylight and night conditions, is our next step.  

Continue with us in our discoveries and check back for updates on the Allen Institute project!

www.perkinswill.com

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2013 Landmark Series: A Sound Garden

[This is part of our ongoing New Year’s Resolution to reacquaint ourselves with Seattle’s great icons. Download the calendar and join the conversation! Check out September’s landmark, “Hat ‘n’ Boots”, and come back in November for a look at the Space Needle.]

Created as part of a public art walk for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Western Service Center in Seattle, WA, Doug Hollis’ sound sculpture, A Sound Garden, has inspired Seattleites for three decades.

On a wave-like outcropping of wetland, Hollis’ installed steel towers with wind-actuated pipe organs overlooking Lake Washington. Walking the 300’ long path of pyramid shaped brick and gravel that winds through a copse of steel towers is a transformative experience that enhances our connection to nature. Wind, even a subtle breeze, flows through the pipes and arranges an ever-changing symphony that captures and translates the natural phenomena of air currents. A journey through this sound sculpture invites introspection and extends grace to the sojourner. 

A Sound Garden was a pivotal project for Hollis as it was the first sculpture meant to be a permanent installation; a work of art intended to gain meaning as time goes. The piece has certainly fulfilled that original intent – it’s one of a handful of pieces of public art that has genuinely shaped the Seattle community. It’s a hidden treasure that rewards everyone who takes the time to seek it out.

The installation remains a favorite attraction on NOAA’s art walk and can be credited with many creative influences. The popular band, Soundgarden, even took its name from Hollis’ famous artwork. To experience, A Sound Garden, in person — something we highly recommend doing — head over to Warren G. Magnuson Park any weekday between 9am-5pm and check it out. Just make sure to bring I.D. as the installation is on restricted land. For more details visit http://www.wrc.noaa.gov/

  • Posted 9 months ago
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Washington State Convention Center 

We’re updating the exterior signage for the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle and spent an afternoon at CRĒO Industrial Arts for a review of the new, illuminated sign prototypes. The signs looked fantastic and our client was thrilled with the huge scale of the signage! The sign pictured measures just over 12 feet tall and will be mounted above I-5 on Pike Street. 

Several key locations will feature the updated logo in addition to new applications designed to enhance the Convention Center’s street presence. To express the contours of the logo, a gradient graphic printed on translucent film is laminated to a piece of acrylic. The signs are internally illuminated with LED bulbs utilizing both backlit and halo illumination.

Look for the new signs to be fully installed this Thanksgiving holiday!

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Re-energizing 1800 Ninth

When Talon Properties acquired the 1800 9th building in downtown Seattle, occupancy was low providing an opportunity for repositioning the building. Studio SC worked with LMN Architects to bring a new identity to the building and give it a clean, modern look.

Blackened steel, new colors, and refreshed workspaces are now incorporated throughout the building and key architectural elements are integrated into the signage. The building’s new visual language is established by a glowing, sculpted building logo framed by blackened steel installed on the entrance canopy. The building identity creates a highly visible, graphic street presence.

While the canopy logo identifies the main entrance, many tenants and visitors enter 1800 Ninth through the parking garage, making it another key location for communicating the building’s identity. Clearly perceived by its luminous “P” symbol, the parking garage entrance sign guides drivers inside where each parking level showcases fresh, inviting colors and patterns graphically related to the architecture of the main lobby. The attractive garage interior and clearly identified elevator lobbies provide a welcoming presence.

Main lobby and upper floor graphics are integrated with the new architecture and reinforce the clean, modern identity of the space while providing clear wayfinding and flexibility for updating. The design connects people to their environment while visually expressing the organized, caring, and well-managed approach of the new building owners.

www.1800ninth.com

  • Posted 9 months ago
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2013 Landmark Series: Hat ‘n’ Boots

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Seattle’s Well-Heeled Roadside Attraction

[This is part of our ongoing New Year’s Resolution to reacquaint ourselves with Seattle’s great icons. Download the calendar and join the conversation! Check out July’s landmark, the Rainier “R”, and come back in October for a look at “A Sound Garden”.]

In December 2003, the largest hat and cowboy boots in America, also known as Hat ‘n’ Boots, were rescued from over a decade of neglect through the effort of a small Seattle neighborhood community. 

Originally created for a Western-themed gas station on Highway 99 in 1954, the hat housed an office while the boots were restrooms, labeled “cowgirls” and “cowboys” respectively. When the station closed in 1988, Hat ‘n’ Boots were left to weather years of decay and vandalism.

A band of community members in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle purchased Hat ’n’ Boots for $1.00 and raised funds for its restoration. With the support secured from historical societies, cultural organizations, local corporations and neighborhood associations, Hat ‘n’ Boots have been repaired, repainted, and relocated to their current home at Oxbow Park where everyone can enjoy them.

Hat ‘n’ Boots’ may not be the embodiment typical Seattle style or architecture, nonetheless the roadside attraction has rooted itself in the collective sentiment of our city in a powerful way. “‘The Hat n’ Boots is as important to Georgetown as the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco,’ says Allan Phillips, former director of the Georgetown Community Council. ‘If the Hat ‘n’ Boots were ever to be gone from Georgetown, it would be like losing our soul’”.

  • Posted 10 months ago
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