Local Group Brewing is an independent craft brewer and kitchen offering good beer, good food, and good times. Their name—a play on localism and Earth’s position in the Local Group of galaxies—is a reminder that we’re part of communities, small and large, and the never-ending quest to explore our relation to them. They sought our help in creating an identity system and space that would reflect their ideas and mission as they opened their doors in a completely renovated, late 1940s era industrial space.
Scope of work
- Interior space design
- Brand identity
While Local Group Brewing wanted to pay homage to astronomy and Houston’s history of space exploration there was—in the words of one of the founders—no desire to make it a place “with a bunch of rockets on the walls.” The overall strategy and approach that we crafted was to speak a language that was scientific, minimal leaning, industrial, and technical (in some cases comically so.)
The Local Group galaxy icon is just that—a depiction of two bodies frozen in space and time orbiting a center, staying in place, switching places, or moving out of place entirely. All of the actions that define us as individuals on a personal or planetary scale.
When time came to choose a primary typeface, we selected Univers. A great choice in name alone, it displays perfectly at a wide variety of sizes, has a huge family of options, and is designed to convey the neutral, scientific tone desired. To provide more flexibility for use, the name was shortened to LCL GRP with a hop icon for some applications, especially those of limited space or requiring vertical orientation. We felt that this was also a subtle nod to the vertical type prevalent on NASA rockets from the golden era like the Mercury-Redstone or the Gemini-Titan.
As supporting elements, we created a variety of visuals that played on astronomy and space to comic result. We adapted the Voyager Probe’s iconic Man and Woman image to greet Local Group’s clientele—rather than extraterrestrials—with their “Hey, Neighbor” catchphrase, with hops and barley as modest fig leafs. Charts and graphs illustrating cosmological distances were adapted to show the distance between you and beer. Each was easily pressed into use for merch or murals.
With Method Architecture handling the architectural plans, permitting, and layout of the existing building, we set to work applying the same approach that informed the brand identity to the interior. Our goals with Local Group were create a space which was industrial and clean, but not inhumanly cold. Somewhere in the range between a high school biology lab and a NASA clean room. While some wood finishes were important for warmth in the space, we wanted to stay well away from the expected heritage, bare steel and reclaimed wood aesthetic favored by many craft brewers.
We sought to use inexpensive, durable materials and elevate them through thoughtful use and planning. Large black commercial tiles facing the bar were painted with custom messages inspired by the Space Shuttle heat shield tiles, lighting was chosen based on its resemblance to space craft component shapes, and we made ubiquitous drop ceilings feel futuristic by breaking up their standard grid through use of unique slim recessed led lighting.
We enlisted FMW|FabLab to translate a variety of inspirations into furniture which they designed, fabricated, and finished in a variety of high visibility colors from the brand system. Our favorite is the round table whose base was inspired by the legs of the lunar lander.Local Group Brewing has an extensive amount of signage throughout the interior and exterior of the space. As the building generally lacked any prominent features architecturally, we worked to create distinction and visual interest through a variety of dimensional and hand painted signage, murals, and graphics. FMW|FabLab was utilized again to fabricate several specialty signage elements and the merch display to our specifications, and Robynn Sanders of Maverick Murals handled the sign painting throughout the space including the large interior “HOU are here” mural.