Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 10 June 2016
Wagon Wheel is a Nashville-based boutique real estate title and escrow company established by three partners with substantial experience working for larger corporate law offices who wanted to establish a company with a more casual corporate culture and client experience. This, and Wagon Wheel’s Nashville roots, is expressed throughout its new brand identity, designed by graphic design studio Perky Bros, using a combination of a strong graphic approach and tactile material choices. This extends across folders, business cards, coasters, posters and signage.
Perky Bros’ intention was to bring an accessible and human-quality to what is often seen as a stuffy corporate sector, whilst maintaining a high-level of distinction and sophistication. This is achieved primarily in the materiality of identity. Robust, earthy and tactile material choices, the quality of letterpress and block foil print finishes, and the visual texture of paint play with, and find a fairly comfortable meeting point between corporate experience and accessibility, a familiar professionalism and an element of the unexpected.
This continues in its graphic expression. The logo and logotype bring together a sense of legacy and modernity, the logo in its almost serif-like terminals and in the logotype’s nearly neutral monolinear, uppercase, letterforms. This contrast is explored further with the typesetting and layouts of stationery which feature moments of reduction alongside traditional flourishes.
For the most part these have been worked together well. Materiality does a good job of bridging the gap between the austere nature of Wagon Wheel’s service and a more personable and accessible service practice, while many of the graphic elements are reassuring in their association with formality and experience.
Although BP&O is based in Europe, with little experience of Nashville, the name Wagon Wheel conjures up dusty tracks, frontier towns and railroad signage. The use of wood, the visual texture of paint, the hues and shades of dyed boards, leather tied folder, letterpress and condensed type all play up this perception, however, it would be good to get a local’s opinion. Like their work for Forgotten Boardwalk, these choices presumably give Wagon Wheel a strong sense locality rather than one of an international corporation. It is a shame that much of this does not make it online, with website unfortunately feeling far more conventional. More from Perky Bros on BP&O.