The Downs Group designs and builds fine estates costing upwards of $10 million in the New York metropolitan area, often set among the storied mansions found in New Jersey's horse country enclaves where many Forbes 400 families like Merk, Johnson, Mars, and the Forbes themselves have lived for generations.
Though Jim Downs was building some of the country's great estates - Donald Trump hired him to design and build at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey - his corporate identity was not on par with his cribs. Enter Lanzara Studio.
Conceptually, we wanted to associate Downs with the old world construction methods and craftsmanship found in Europe's great estates, or in American mansions built in bygone eras like the Roaring Twenties. We felt the Downs identity should express itself with relaxed air of a prestigious country club, and with a dose of modernity.
We researched medieval and Renaissance-era crests and coats of arms, and drew upon a number of elements to create Downs' custom crest. The modern sans serif typeface tagline (and contact information on business cards and letterheads) was just the modern spritz the logo wanted to dip a toe in the new age of CAD design and stainless conveniences, while keeping both feet firmly grounded in the old world of Corinthian columns, marble, and hand-wrought iron balustrades. A common aesthetic theme in our work is the interplay of Classical with modern, and this design highlights that nicely.
We think the new Downs identity has a Gatsby-esque gentlemanly feel, especially when engraved in deep blue, black, and metallic silver inks on sumptuous cotton paper. When handed a proposal on such letterhead along with a thick business card, any prospective client or partner knows at once that Downs delivers excellence.
Lanzara Studio also produced the photography above for the Springcroft Estate in Far Hills, New Jersey, which was listed at $4 million. This was a complex night shoot using the moon as the principal light source, but also interior incandescents, interior strobes, exterior hot lights, car lights, and flaming oil lamps - all of which had to be balanced.