Branding Northland Workforce Training Center

The Northland Beltline on Buffalo’s East Side has been in the midst of a major redevelopment. My colleague Ryan McMullen recently worked on an identity for the emerging neighborhood, which can be seen here.

We were tasked with developing the name, identity and branding for the workforce training center that will occupy the flagship building within the Northland Beltline neighborhood.

Northland Workforce Training Center is an industry-driven, public-private partnership between employers, educational institutions, community and faith-based organizations, and state and local government. It aims to close the skills gap of the local labor pool and create economic on-ramps to training, co-ops, internships, apprenticeships, and permanent employment for Western New Yorkers seeking high-paying advanced manufacturing and energy careers.

When we began working on the identity, I looked to the building itself for inspiration. Its architecture is so interesting, and tells a story of its original purpose and usage. Nothing struck me more than the series of saw-tooth windows on a portion of the building’s roof. These windows allow natural light to flood in and were quite common in factories of its era. This feature is something that helps tie advanced manufacturing (a focal point of the new workforce training center) to its building’s industrial past.

The zig-zag feature of the roof creates an electrical “zap” shape, within which you see the letter “N.” I wanted to marry these ideas together, creating an icon that embodies an electrical current, and honors our industrial past, reflected in what is a typical “factory” icon.

The mark we created is versatile, allowing for a variety of lockups and brandmarks, and a dynamic set of brand colors and brand elements to be used throughout collateral, print and digital applications.