Capturing an architecture firm’s purpose in light

Diamond Schmitt Architects
Book Design, Content, Digital Design, Identity, Positioning, Video, Web Development

Context

Diamond Schmitt Architects is an architecture firm founded in Toronto in 1978 by Jack Diamond and Don Schmitt. In its forty-year history, the firm has designed award-winning projects in the cultural, institutional, residential, and commercial sectors. DSA engaged Frontier to elevate the studio’s brand so it match the company’s growing international reputation. 

Logo & Light

In collaboration with the firm’s staff, and inspired by a formative essay written by the studio’s founders, we developed a brand position based on the vision that great architecture transcends the basic functional aspects of a building. To visualize this idea we created an unconventional logo using photography, projection, and refracted light.

Beauty & Basics

Frontier designed a visual identity based on the newly established brand position. Strong typography and captivating project imagery were paired with a series of black-and-white gradients that expand upon the mark’s representation of light and form. Frontier also designed and developed the firm’s new website, establishing a platform to recontextualize its work and message.

Forms Assembled in Light

Through a collaborative process that involved interviews, site tours, and workshops with Diamond Schmitt Architects staff, principals, and clients, Frontier developed a new positioning framework for the firm that emphasizes its unique perspective: the belief that great architecture transcends the primary functions of the built form.

To design their purpose, we developed an unconventional logo using photography and projection—effectively capturing the firm’s name in a metaphysical state. Frontier experimented with several materials and techniques, producing hundreds of iterations before arriving at the final mark. For usability, we also created a simplified version of the mark.

More than a Catalogue

DSA also engaged us to redesign and rebuild the firm’s website. From the start, we wanted to bring the studio’s voice and character onto the web while creating a structure that allowed viewers to navigate four decades of architecture with ease.

The result was a bespoke landing experience that brought the new logo to life, a homepage to showcase an ever-changing reel of studio highlights, and a redesigned portfolio that emphasizes clarity and content. In addition, we commissioned new photography for the studio and staff and a new video of the firm's Lazaridis Hall project in Waterloo, Canada.