GrandArmy rebrands United States Postal Service
with "Americana" graphics

| 8 comments
 

Graphic design studio GrandArmy has overhauled the signage and packaging for the United States Postal Service in the "largest retail rebrand project in American history" (+ slideshow).

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

The United States Postal Service (USPS) wanted to revamp its 31,000 locations around the country. GrandArmy's aim was to simplify and modernise the in-store graphics used to present customer information to make the experience better for users.



"The USPS knew their retail locations needed help," GrandArmy cofounder Eric Collins told Dezeen. "Things had been cluttered, disorganised and visually messy for years."

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

"So their brief was a total re-thinking of the in-store experience through signage, language and way finding, and to create a unified system that would hold everything together," he explained. "The goal was to make the experience easier, faster and simpler through design."

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

The rebrand encompasses all materials used in the retail outlets, including tags, signage, kiosks, menu boards, welcome signs and window stickers.

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

"The USPS has something like 31,000 locations," said Collins. "I believe that makes it the largest retailer in the US, making this the largest retail rebrand project in American history, in terms of modified physical locations."

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

None of the buildings could be physically altered, so the designers had to implement a "paper and paint" solution to transform the interiors.

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

"We developed a very stripped down grid and typographic system," Collins explained. "The whole project really boils down to three colour fields, three typefaces and a simple ratio that determines the size of elements between them."

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

Signage and menu boards are unified into a standard format, using a patriotic colour palette. A red strip runs along the top, headers are written in navy blue on white and supplementary information is presented inversely.

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

Thin lines break up sections of information to make them easier to read and dotted lines further separate text.

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

Two typefaces were chosen for text, both designed by New York type foundry Hoefler & Co. Knockout is used in two weights for headers and Gotham medium forms secondary headers and body copy.

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

"Aesthetically, Knockout hints toward the Americana angle," Collins explained. "[Gotham medium] pairs well with Knockout and is very hard working at smaller sizes."

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

The project also includes the design of a mobile app to act as an in-store guide, which uses the same graphic language.

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

Promotional posters feature an American eagle and typographic art depicting the phrase "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night", which is inscribed across the front of the James Farley Post Office in New York.

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

"The USPS has a rich history that interweaves with the history of this country going back to its inception," said Collins. "We wanted to nod to that heritage."

US postal service redesign by Grand Army

"We wanted to make people proud of the USPS," he added. "Politically it often seems like a target, or that we are constantly hearing about what is wrong with the USPS. Rarely do we ever stop to think about what an amazing technical marvel the entire institution is."

GrandArmy's shipping boxes designs were later modified by an external team.

  • http://www.libertydisciple.com/ The Liberty Disciple

    These are beautiful graphics that will compliment the post office during the bankruptcy hearings from obsolescence.

    • dick_c

      They are beautiful graphics and they do complement the post office. However, the financial difficulties of the post office are more due to things like the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that required it to pre-fund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years, and pay for it in ten. The cost of that is over $5.5bn per year, and it’s an expense nobody else has. We also have congress forbidding the post office to directly compete with UPS and Fedex–who do directly compete with the post office. I could go on, but why bother.

  • Rae Claire

    I want a poster. I retired from the post office 10 years ago, and thought I was well and truly done with it, but seeing that eagle actually brought me a tiny shiver of pride.

  • http://www.libertydisciple.com/ The Liberty Disciple

    The financial difficulties of the Post Office stem from a lack of competition. Companies like Amazon are working on robotic aerial package delivery, while USPS is blowing money on cycling teams to encourage people to send postcards.

    • dick_c

      Sorry. Their $5,500,000,000 annual payment to cover health care costs of employees they haven’t even hired yet is, by far, the biggest part of the problem. Besides which, if any other company faced this kind of burden they would raise prices. That’s something the USPS can’t do without permission from congress… which seems determined to ruin the USPS.

      They are forced to focus on short range programs, like the post card promotion, because the payments they have for pre-funding future health care benefits are due in the short term. Perhaps you’re suggesting they should hire extra staff for long range planning while everyone else scrambles to make these short term obligations.

    • dick_c
    • Martin Johncox

      The Post Office would love to get into email, Web hosting, printing, copying, paper publishing and modern communications. But they’re a quasi-governmental entity and their commission keeps them from doing anything different than what they’ve done for the past 200 years. It’s like the worst of both the private and public sector worlds.

  • point

    It’s too bad they did not also bring back the Raymond Lowey eagle symbol. It would have worked well with the type and aesthetic. The current eagle was never quite right. It was a product of the previous redesign (post Lowey) done by an advertising agency. More 80s sports team looking.