I went to Nashville for the first time this summer.
The trip was somewhat unfortunately timed as it was during the same weekend as CMA Fest and Bonnaroo but attended neither music festival. The weather was a cool 95 degrees and sunny (which, being someone who happens to live in Buffalo, NY, I was absolutely not ready for) and the crowds downtown were large to say the least. In a bid to avoid all of that, I booked a tour at one of the lesser-known tourist attractions in the city: a tour of famed letterpress shop Hatch Show Print.
Hatch Show Printing, originally founded as CR and HH Hatch, has been operating as a letterpress print shop since the late 1870s and specializing in a very classic looking style of poster print that is easily recognizable thanks to their mission of “preservation through production.” This sees the shop using an original set of wood and metal letters as well as hand-carved images to create its distinctive look. These letters and images, coupled with printing presses that go as far back as the late 1800s, create the iconic look of the Hatch posters that line the walls of the famed Ryman Auditorium up the block and have been sought out by some of the biggest names in show business to represent their acts.
The prints are created using wood and metal type that is hand-set by an extremely skilled and in-demand set of printers right in Hatch’s shop, in full view of almost everyone visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame. The fonts in use by the shop are extremely limited with just a few typefaces that are never added to. If a letter wears down (this is especially common with the wood blocks and less so with metal), the printers will try their hardest to salvage by adding padding behind the block to ensure that it is level with the rest of the type. If the letter or carved piece cannot be saved for print use, it is recycled for use elsewhere in the shop. One such example of this that was prominently on display was a desk drawer made of much older (and larger) letters where the wood had cracked and broken at one point or another.
By limiting the number of typefaces in use and continuing to use vintage letters, Hatch has developed an instantly recognizable look.
You have probably seen their work and not even realized it. Bold typography, expert use of color, and a noticeably weathered look (thanks to the recycled and maintained letters) are what defines their work.
With all of that said, you may be wondering what this has to do with your marketing as a staffing firm. Where Hatch has succeeded in making their name is by being extremely specialized. Their work is not all things to all people and they do not try to show themselves off as such. By doing that, they have crafted a look that is undoubtedly theirs.
When it comes to crafting an image, your brand’s visuals are extremely important.
This is not limited to the photography that appears on your website and/or print pieces but also to brand colors, typefaces, layouts and more. All of these things carry weight and can help take your branding to the next step, especially when used consistently.