X Marks The Spot

For over 3 years, we have worked with the fine folks at one of Austin’s premier music venues, ND Austin, to create all of their branding – from their logo and website to signage and event posters. Recently, we’ve even opened our first food venture, Tamale Molly, within their doors and in partnership with them. So it came as no surprise that when they decided to open their new, sister bar to ND, that they approached us to do the branding and design for it as well. This project went further than just pixels on the computer, however. We built furniture, picked paint colors, and generally massaged every inch of the space into a cohesive entity. It was, without a doubt, our biggest undertaking yet!

Welcome to The North Door.

It was also incredibly fun to work with the owners of the space to take their ideas and make them a reality. The objective was this: make the sort of bar that undercover spies would stop to have a cocktail at while plotting their next feat of espionage. The bar itself is off the beaten path, down an alley on the side of a building, so we starting coming up with ideas based on the need to make our presence and location obvious while also subconscious, the kind of thing that sticks with you over time, without even realizing it. This is where the big red X comes into play, and the tagline of “x marks the spot”. Secret maps passed between agents, the red X always leading the way…

The inside is nothing but slate gray, deep blacks, and reds. Spy ephemera and posters are on the walls — all pulling the viewer in with little bits of information and details: we wanted to let the patrons the bar leave with a little more information than they had when they came in. Spy intel, for the taking, if its wanted.

As mentioned above, we even helped construct some of the furniture in the space, the bench below being one of the main pieces, and tables with spy plans inlaid in them.

One of the most fun parts of the project, however, laid in the details. Secret messages left for people to find, if they want to. The image directly below is of a Dukane Fliptop Filmstrip Projector that our good friend and Recspec ally Seth found for free on the street, which we cleaned up and made a custom transparency for. It is definitely one of our favorite parts of the space.

The space is still evolving and changing, which makes it even more exciting. The spy posters will change often with new spies and information, a mural is about to go up, and we’re constantly on the look out for as much intriguing spy paraphernalia as we can find (which, you’ve got to admit, is a pretty great job requirement). We’ll continue to post updates on the space as we continue working on it, so keep an eye out.

A few more shots can be seen over at our flickr, and you can visit The North Door online at TheNorthDoor.com. Thanks for reading! And don’t forget, if you ever lose your way – X marks the spot.


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