The Tallest One in the Hemisphere

As 1 World Trade Center grows closer to topping off — even with high winds playing havoc with the delivery of steel to the uppermost floors — it grows harder and harder to miss around the city. So the first thing you might wonder is: Why does the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere need a logo? Isn’t it logo enough by itself?

Maybe so. But it is a bit harder to see from other cities and countries, and 1 World Trade Center is being marketed globally by the Durst Organization, which is developing the building with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. So a logo has been designed by Wordsearch, a branding and marketing firm headquartered in London.

The design is dominated by the word “One,” trailed by a little trademark notice. The “O” is bisected by a silhouette of the spire planned at 1 World Trade Center, which will lift the building’s total height to a symbolic 1,776 feet. The color of the basic logo will be a flat blue known as Pantone 301, but there are a half dozen variants in colors suggested by “the glorious Manhattan skies,” said Wordsearch, sounding a little bit envious under the scudding clouds of England. The typeface used in the logo, Gotham, was designed by the New York firm Hoefler & Frere-Jones. The logo is accompanied by a tagline, “New York’s Number One.”

(We pause here to note that City Room anticipated this need three years ago, when it invited readers to design their own logos for 1 World Trade Center, which was just then shedding its earlier Freedom Tower designation. The responses ranged from poignantly imaginative to wickedly amusing. They seem to have had no effect whatever on Wordsearch.)

The tower is expected to be completed at the end of next year. Slightly more than half of its 3 million square feet of office space is already spoken for: 1.1 million square feet have been leased to Condé Nast; 200,000 square feet have been leased to Beijing Vantone, a real estate company in China; and 300,000 square feet are under negotiation with the federal General Services Administration. That leaves 1.4 million square feet on the market. That’s a lot of square feet.

“The identity we have developed seeks to harness and leverage the plentiful positive connotations of ‘One’: first amongst many, leading from the front, singularity of vision,” Wordsearch said in a statement. “These are felt both at a conceptual level — the building taking its place amongst New York’s and the world’s architectural icons — and at the practical — Tower One in a master plan of several other towers.

“The mark suggests the summit and spire reaching into the sky above Lower Manhattan,” the firm added. Depending on the size in which the logo is viewed, it may also suggest a rocket blasting off from a launching pad, an oil can, a plunger or — if you’re a newspaper reporter of a certain age — the spike upon which your precious paragraphs were once consigned by copy editors.

By default, Gotham seems to have become the sanctioned typeface of the World Trade Center redevelopment project. It undergirds the logo of the 9/11 Memorial, and it was the typeface chosen eight years ago for the Freedom Tower cornerstone, which was later removed from the site. “It’s a coincidence that it’s the same one,” Jordan Barowitz, a spokesman for the Durst Organization, said on Wednesday, “but it’s a classic New York font.”

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