The Mill called up The Barn to do its branding - Delaware


Feb. 11, 2016 12:09 pm

The Mill called up The Barn to do its branding

Will The Mill coworking space be more of the same in downtown Wilmington? Here's branding guy Nick Matarese on how he's helping the space stand out.
The Barn founder Nick Matarese.

The Barn founder Nick Matarese.

(Photo courtesy of Nick Matarese)

If Market Street already has the coIN Loft and 1313 Innovation as coworking spaces, won’t The Mill just be more of the same?

“I’ve been asked that a lot,” said Robert Herrera, founder of The Mill. Earlier this year, he enlisted Nick Matarese, president of The Barn — a creative branding agency he runs out of coIN — to help answer that question.

In return, Matarese has put together a 30-page branding guide for The Mill. The three coworking spaces, which are all just a few blocks apart downtown, have developed different personalities and specializations, he said. And because all three are different, they all have their place in Wilmington.

By nature of its connection with Start It Up Delaware, the coIN Loft is a good place for startups that are figuring out their budding business models. It tends to attract freelancers, too, he said.

1313 Innovation has more of a team feel for small businesses that already have some financial backing, Matarese said.

“Robert’s, I feel, is going to be for the very serious,” he said, meaning people at The Mill will have already established themselves in the market and have a do-or-die attitude about their business.

The Mill's new logo.

The Mill’s new logo. (Courtesy of

The first attempt in making it unique was to take an ultra-masculine tone, he said, which is different from the welcoming vibes at coIN, whose Start It up Delaware logo is pink and whose space has some softer touches in furniture and wall-hangings.


That means using lots of woods and metals.

“The coIN Loft is here to help, and The Mill’s branding is more of the sweat and grit,” Matarese said. “Heavy metal was a driving factor in the branding.”

He means the hard stuff used in construction, not the music. He spent a few days researching metals online and about the DuPont Eleutherian gunpowder mills.

For colors, he chose black and the rusty hue of Corten steel. Then he worked on creating a “grunge effect” for the font so it would look like it had been stamped onto concrete or burned into wood.

The logo image is one of a water mill, but Matarese originally designed an image of a gear. To him, at least initially, it made perfect sense: At the gunpowder mills of the Brandywine, water flowed through to catch the wheel, which spun a rod that latched to a central hook that turned an enormous gear, which in turn was a strong tool to move other things — in this case, it mashed gunpowder. The gear was the central piece that made things happen.

But when he showed the idea to a few people, no one made the connection. Matarese realized he needed to go more literally with a mill water wheel, and that image worked.

We have a hunch you’ll probably see a lot of Matarese’s branding efforts in the next month or two as Herrera moves toward the coworking space’s opening date on April 1.

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