Client, Year

Seawall Development,
Baltimore Public Markets,
2022-Present

Services

Brand Positioning
Brand Architecture
Brand Stories
Messaging & Tone
Logos & Marks
Identity Development
Brand Systems
Brand Guidelines
Wayfinding
Branded Environments
UX/UI
Website
Illustration
Stationery
Brand Applications

Awards / Press

Photography

Lexington Market

Realizing a living institution

Founded in 1782, Lexington Market is the longest continually operating public market in the United States; beyond that, it is a beacon of Baltimore’s food, culture, diversity, and history. Working alongside Seawall Development and BCT Design Group, Ashton was honored to help elevate its current experience to match its iconic status.

In the end, we touched nearly every detail of the market in order to reimagine it for future generations.

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The crux of the challenge was to move Lexington Market forward in a way that honored its singularity. Extensive historical research and community engagement sessions drove the design process and ensured the new identity felt like a seamless extension of its legacy. 

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The resulting new brand system is a complex kit of parts inspired by key graphic elements from the market’s past. The primary logo’s custom-drawn letters reference sign-painting letterforms from the early 1900s, while secondary marks pay homage to other historical references—like the bull medallion that adorned the building at its 1905 opening. 

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To celebrate Lexington’s bustling energy and diverse voices, we also built a secondary, contemporary typeface system to complement the main marks. These typefaces are inspired by hand-lettered posters and banners used during historic Black, Chicanx, and Latinx activism movements.  Although visually different from the primary identity, the letterforms’ construction follows the same geometric principles of early sign painting. 

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The color palette took shape from the market’s diverse food offerings, ranging from fresh produce, meat, and seafood to prepared foods, flowers, and spices. 

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Inside, guests are greeted by a brand-forward welcome center. The eclectic mix of marks, colors, and typography reflects the hodge-podge nature of the market itself, while the overhead box sign was inspired by original market signage.

The brand’s broad range of graphic elements also allows for a seemingly endless sundry of merchandise and other extensions—all of which are highly sought after by both vendors and visitors.

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A banner system installed around the west side of the building serves double duty as marketing and wayfinding. Their frenzied-but-friendly appeal reflects the “method to the madness” indelible to the market.  

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A color-coded merchant wall similarly uses visual aids to communicate order without stymying the market’s character. 

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Signature neon signs from the old building repurposed in the new space reinforce the sense of continuity between Lexington’s past, present, and future. 

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It was equally important to create an inviting experience outdoors, an element that had been missing from the market’s previous iteration. Creating signage and other visual cues that extend the life of the market into the surrounding plaza further cemented Lexington’s role as a vital community anchor.

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Strategic engravings and educational moments emphasize the significance Lexington Market has had in shaping the city of Baltimore. The inclusion of historic photographs helps visitors reflect on how far the space has come—and observe how the design of the new market is a thoughtful extension of its original roots.

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PO Box 50337, Balt., MD 21211

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PO Box 50337, Balt., MD 21211

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