Vintage billheads inspired Mucca’s bevelled branding for the Tin Building

Located in a historic former fish market in Lower Manhattan, the food hub has launched with a typographic identity inspired by the “colourful past” of the city’s Seaport neighbourhood

The Tin Building in New York is home to an impressive set of businesses, including 12 restaurants, four bars and three markets, all located in what was once the Fulton Fish Market. Mucca recalls the area’s history in brilliant detail, describing it as “a bustling commercial hub full of salty characters, wise guys, and chefs looking for the freshest catch”.

The design studio has tapped into some of this local charm for the Tin Building’s branding, which they say mixes the “gritty, utilitarian spirit of the former fish market” with the “sophistication” of its new role.

The visual identity had to span a broad range of different businesses and products, requiring a typeface with some authority. For inspiration, Mucca looked at vintage billheads – printed documents with the seller’s branding, often used as receipts – and designed a custom typeface, bevelled wordmark, monogram and seal.

These appear across various parts of the Tin Building experience, used on wrapping paper and food packaging, as well as shopping bags – where it exists as a foiled version, against a brilliant green backdrop. Mucca’s branding also had to stretch across the Tin Building’s various food products – beer, whiskey, sauces and chocolates – flexing to fit each item, while remaining unmistakeably part of the food and retail hub’s identity.

Signage photography by Nicole Franzen

Mucca’s custom variable typeface, NoExit Octagonal, does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to tying all of the above together. It’s based on the signage systems of merchants who once sold fish from the building, using bevelled corners and square shapes to establish its voice. “This style of typography can be as narrow as a ship’s mast or as wide as a sailor’s swagger,” says the studio.

It’s an impressive bit of branding, particularly in the way it adapts across so many different products and businesses, evoking a sense of the former fish market’s vibrant history, without falling into the trap of becoming a pastiche.