Year in Review
Above all else, 2022 reminded us that design is by people, for people. It was a happy change to meet with clients in person and exchange ideas at multiple conferences. The year also brought a number of notable, complex projects that challenged our design skills, delivered great results for our clients, and won industry recognition. Many gave us the opportunity to give back to our Baltimore community, while others allowed us to contribute to global efforts on sustainability and climate change.
We also added to our own local-global mix, as new team members in worldwide locations continue to move our work forward and make our travel lists longer. Speaking of—as we say hello to 2023, we can’t wait to invite you to our new Baltimore studio. Stay tuned for details.
The Climate Pledge (TCP) empowers businesses and everyday citizens to “be the planet’s turning point”—to take action now on climate change. Spearheaded by Global Optimism and backed by Amazon, TCP enlists global businesses to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. Ashton, alongside creative agency ATTN:, concepted, designed, and executed an uplifting, global Instagram campaign to motivate businesses to sign the pledge and buoy public spirits around sustainability efforts. The campaign’s distinctly optimistic messaging and imagery, delivered via in-feed posts, carousels, and animated stories, helped inspire and unite followers behind TCP’s cause.
See the campaign.
What’s most important to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority—a.k.a. Metro—is people and their wellbeing. It was the core value they wanted to design their new headquarters around at the Jackson Graham Building in L’Enfant Plaza. In response, Ashton created a vibrant branded environment, whose high-visibility features help visitors navigate the space, build pride among employees, and cast WMATA as a modern, welcoming entity. The mix of graphics, colors, and textures increases accessibility and interaction throughout the building while leaving a lasting impact on the viewer.
Explore the building.
After finalizing its new brand identity in 2021, Lexington Market was in need of a new website that reflected its updated look and captured its iconic status. This was no small feat—as the oldest continually operating public market in the U.S., there was a wide crop of new and returning vendors to feature and moving parts to consider. The website was built to be like the market: multifunctional. Now, it serves as a robust and sortable index for the diverse list of merchants, it educates visitors on the site’s storied past, and it captures the faces and energy of the people who continue to make Lexington Market an East Coast destination.
Experience the site.
BCF is the trusted source for people seeking impactful ways to invest in Baltimore’s future. To mark its 50th anniversary, BCF turned to Ashton for a complete brand overhaul that would better capture the organization’s legacy and continued momentum. The new system highlights BCF’s dynamic role in the community, supplemented interactive visuals with key messaging, and included a custom mark to celebrate the “50 Years of Impact” campaign. Brand elements were then applied to everything from social media icons to the foundation’s headquarters to ensure BCF continues to have its impact seen and felt in the community for decades to come.
ABET helps prepare today’s students to solve tomorrow’s challenges by accrediting higher-learning institutions' STEM programs. Since redesigning the organization’s identity in 2015, Ashton has built ABET’s yearly Impact Report, a digital publication shared with its worldwide network of evaluators, institutions, and supporters. The 2021 report was particularly important for ABET; it served as a crucial communication tool to celebrate its volunteers after two years of decentralized, COVID-complicated work. The layout guides readers through the featured profiles of key contributors, whose presence provides a personal complement to data-driven recaps.
Read the report.
Adero Partners carved out a niche for itself in the exclusive world of wealth management by creating an inclusive environment for its clients. Ashton built a new brand identity to embody their signature mix of welcoming and high-end. The new logo’s interlocking shapes, an abstraction of a lowercase “a” and an uppercase “p,” reflect the strong connection Adero builds with its clients, while the jewel-toned color palette adds sophistication. The brand was then applied to key collateral pieces and a new website, where motion graphics emphasize the dynamism of the new system.
Vida, a new residential community opening at the southernmost point of Silicon Valley, is built to be a pocket of Edenic calm for the tech-focused area. Nestled between the Santa Cruz and Diablo mountain ranges, Vida celebrates an indoor/outdoor lifestyle with sustainably designed recreational spaces and Spanish architectural influences. We created a brand identity that reflects this desert-meets-Mediterranean aesthetic; the modular logo was inspired by artisan tilework, while the iconography and color palette reference the surrounding geographic landscape. The resulting system feels warm and is a welcomed respite from the business of Big Tech.
See the case study.
ELSCO may be the most crucial company you’ve never heard of. Their signature parts keep elevators running seamlessly, including in six of the world’s 20 tallest buildings. As the company looked to expand its footprint, it sought a brand refresh to match its growing presence. Ashton collaborated with the ELSCO team to build a strategic, robust identity that enlivened its image while embracing its DNA. The resulting kit of parts includes a modern evolution of the company’s logo, plus a bold tagline—“Go Unnoticed”—that underscores ELSCO’s value to its customers.
Once upon a time, NOTOS was known as Square Grill, a brothers-owned eatery looking for a brand identity. Working from only an eclectic menu, Ashton arranged its diverse offerings into two categories: U.S. comfort food and southern Mediterranean bites. The southern bent stuck, and the restaurant was renamed notos, Greek for “south wind.” This unique approach then drove the branding; for instance, the color palette was inspired by the spices used in NOTOS’ dishes. The transformed concept and resulting brand now feel on par with more established quick-service eateries, and it can easily impart personality to new locations as it expands.
See how it came to life.
Global clothing retailer Madewell is committed to moving the fashion industry towards greater sustainability. Case in point: Madewell’s 2021 Do Well Report tracked the company’s progress on its environmental goals using SASB and GRI standards for the first time. To mirror this more advanced approach to reporting, Ashton designed a data-driven publication, whose 86-page heft also reflects a marked increase in transparency. A complimentary “Greatest Hits” graphic helped Madewell promote the report on Instagram to its 1.4-million followers. The report was also featured on Forbes as part of a larger profile of Madewell’s sustainability efforts.
Check out the case study.
Additional Completed Projects
Anicó Italia, Baltimore, MD
ATTN:, Los Angeles, CA
Brighter Media Group, Halethorpe, MD
Baltimore Design School, Baltimore, MD
Center for American Progress (OTJ Architects), Washington, D.C.
Crispus Attucks African American History & Cultural Center (Crispus Attucks), York, PA
JHU O'Connor Rec Center, Baltimore, MD
Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, Baltimore, MD
National Endowment for Democracy (OTJ Architects), Washington, D.C.
SOKA Performing Arts Center (We First, Inc.), Aliso Viejo, CA
The Six at University Town Center (Perseus & TDC), Hyattsville, MD
- UCDA Excellence: Loyola University, Fernandez Center
- UCDA Excellence Award: TU Rise Campaign
- UCDA Gold Award: TU Rise Campaign
- SEGD Merit Award: Merriweather District
- ULI Wavemaker Award: Merriweather District
- NAIOP MD Award: Best Mixed-Use Project, Merriweather District
- AIA Excellence in Design Award: JHU Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center
- Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Finalist Award: Madewell Circular Store
- ASLA Potomac Merit Award: Guardians of the First Amendment Memorial
- Designers Rita Pais and Zach Kotel joined our team, and we announced plans for a new Baltimore office space. Stay tuned as we transform an old grocery store into a new studio.
- Alexey and Keith attended the national SEGD conference in Oregon, where they accepted an award for Merriweather District.
- Jenny and Kim attended the UCDA conference in New Mexico and accepted awards for Towson University and Loyola University.
- Alexey and Michelle attended MICA's Practice and Pie event, where they chatted with students about how to find jobs after college.
- Alexey was named chair for SEGD's 50th anniversary conference, coming in August 2023.
- This year’s holiday card featured kitchen musings, memories, and recipes from our team. If you missed it in your mail, you can download a digital copy.
This was a fun one: over 30 Instagram posts, we shared 30 stories about David Ashton’s groundbreaking design of Camden Yards to commemorate the ballpark’s 30th anniversary. Each yarn is packed with little-known facts and charming anecdotes about what it took to create Oriole Park’s identity as a state-of-the-art stadium that felt inherent to downtown Baltimore.
Follow the evolution from hand-sketched ideas to finishing touches.
Works in Progress
Aetna Springs (Weller Development & Six Senses), Napa Valley, CA
Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD
Baltimore Design School, Baltimore, MD
Baltimore Innovation Center (Tower Hill Development), Baltimore, MD
Barracks Road (Federal Realty), Charlottesville, VA
Black Hill Germantown (Lerner Enterprises), Germantown, MD
Brightview Senior Living, Dulles Corner, Hernon, VA
Brightview Senior Living, Hunt Valley, MD
Brightview Senior Living, Northfax, Fairfax, VA
Buttonwood Financial Advisors, Baltimore, MD
Franklin Park (Studios Architecture), Washington, D.C.
Glen Lennox (Grubb Properties), Chapel Hill, NC
Food for Thought Exhibit (Baltimore Museum of Industry), Baltimore, MD
Lexington Market (Seawall), Baltimore, MD
Lofts at Yard 56 (MCB), Baltimore, MD
Mercer Mall (Federal Realty), Lawrenceville, NJ
National Landing Water Park (JBG Smith), Arlington County, VA
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Foulger-Pratt), Silver Spring, MD
Port Covington Triangle & Cromwell Park (Weller Development), Baltimore, MD
Sagamore Spirits 1909, Baltimore, MD
Samos Greek Island Grill, Baltimore, MD
Squashwise (PIKL), Baltimore, MD
The Historical Society of Harford County, Bel Air, MD
Western Avenue (CIM Group), Los Angeles, CA
With Our World (MBK), Irvine, CA
Yard 56 Medical Office Building, Baltimore, MD
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