Contributed by Merlin Duff and Kevin Robson of Gosforth-based Wonder Stuff Studio.
Our first project of this size as a studio, Lane7 is a piece of work we are immensely proud of. Beginning the project way back in July with just a building shell and a business concept to go from it seemed a daunting task. Whilst high-class restaurant/bar/bowling alley hybrids exist in other parts of the country, this was brand new concept for the North-East and for all involved; everyone was anxious and eager to make it a success.
That said, we began as always with the beating heart of any successful business; its personality, its character, its brand. As a leisure destination we understood that the main manifestation of this was going to be in its interior, its service and its communications. Impressing the importance of these aspects on our client we started the project by pulling together a mood-board of venues from across the world.
A New York warehouse style look and feel settled upon, we progressed to name generation. With the brief to come-up with something edgy, flexible and distinct that would marry up to the proposed interior style, we came to Lane7. ‘Lane’ gave us an obvious reference to bowling and a sense of geographical location, whilst the ‘7’ came from the 1,024 possible outcomes of a game of bowling (1+0+2+4=7) but remained non-specific.
Using the joyous relationship of the ‘L’ and ‘7’ we created a bold and confident, ambigramic identity inspired by the constant movement of a bowling ball.
Stylistically, we referenced the vintage styling’s of ten-pins 1950s hey-day with a hand-drawn typographic approach, which we developed into an all-encompassing brand identity system. With the mark as our measuring stick, we designed the full-range of required print collateral; from letterheads to leaflets, business cards to badges, and mugs to menus, crafting an identifiable and characterful tone of voice for the brand in the process.
This personality became crucial as we began developing the brands digital presence. With a young and edgy target audience, social media became a focus for us early on as we sought to get the brand exposure. This rolled into the design and build of the website, and subsequent range of emailers, all of which were integral parts of the brands viral launch strategy that we coordinated.
When it came to the brands physical presence we were no less involved; regular visitors to the development, we worked alongside a local interior designer to ensure brand, and not budget, dictated the build, and designed internal/external signage, printed and digital posters, and a range of graphics to fit the venue as required. We were also able to ensure that staff could live up to the brand, advising both on the staffing and uniform policy.
Following a successful first few months which saw Lane7’s name and reputation travel across the UK, we are now looking towards next year and venues expansion to include a basement and even more ball-based fun. We continue to have an integral role in this process, the wider business and the ever-strengthening brand.