Marriott’s Custom House Boston project overview

Creative and Art Direction
Brand Development and Strategy

Additional credits:
Scott Horn, Copy

Custom House Bar is located inside the historic Boston Custom House building, a skyscraper in the Financial District of Boston, Massachusetts. The original building was constructed in 1837–47 and the tower was added in 1913–15. Over the years, the Custom House was home to numerous government agencies, from customs to the Fish and Wildlife Service. It was vacated in 1986 and was bought by the city a year later, but it remained unused until it was reopened as a Marriott property in 1997. I was tasked with designing the bar logo which will later be used on different types of materials and collateral.

Marriott’s Custom House Boston Bar pieces

Marriott’s Custom House Boston Bar logo

Taking into consideration the elegance and history of the Custom House building, a classic typeface was chosen and its kerning was exaggerated to elevate the look. I introduced a monogram inspired by other artwork from the mid 1800’s to match the time period of the building’s construction. For colors, I simplified the palette currently being used by the property.

Marriott’s Custom House Boston Bar brand overview

Foreseeing the use of the logo and/or monogram for off-site and on-site advertising, menus, signs and other materials, a secondary monogram was created to include the name of the bar and its location. I also proposed a logo option displaying the widely recognized clock tower.

Marriott’s Custom House Boston Bar logos secondary

Additional elements were designed to serve as support graphics including a border treatment to be used on collateral and a pattern displaying the bar’s monogram and the clock tower. I created a background to reflect the history of the property and its location overseeing The Boston Harbor and found an antique map of the city which I color treated and utilized as a signature background on most pieces.

Marriott’s Custom House Boston Bar
Marriott’s Custom House Boston Bar Patterns
Marriott’s Custom House Boston Bar Menu

Two of the proposed implementations for the background map are the menus and the beer glasses printed with gold metallic ink. I wanted the menus to be refined, classic and durable. My proposed solution was for the menu to be brushed aluminum, painted with the brand blue and the map etched onto either side. As an added touch, two removable gold screw caps were used to hold the waterproof pages. For consistency and uniqueness, I also proposed for the background map to be etched onto the beer glasses.

Marriott’s Custom House Boston Bar menu
Marriott’s Custom House Boston Bar beer glass

In an effort to generate meaningful advertising content we researched some fun facts about the building’s rich history.

1. The clock tower is the oldest in Boston.
2. Custom House is the first skyscraper in Boston.
3. The federal government used the building to collect maritime duties in the age of Boston clipper ships. The room where the bar is located housed the vault.

Then, I collaborated with a writer to incorporate these pieces of history onto different types of advertising.

Marriott’s Custom House Boston TV display
Marriott’s Custom House Boston TV display

† Sources:,,,,