Urban Land Interests

Urban Land Interests

Urban Land Interests is one of our hometown heros. ULI built their reputation turning neglected properties into significant, beautiful residential and commercial spaces. ULI came to Swink to give names and identities to something that was still relatively uncommon for them — brand new properties in a forgotten corner of our town.

  • Naming
  • Brand Strategy
  • Visual Identity
  • Print
  • Environmental

Photo by Mike Rebholz

Nine Line

Back when Madison was still just a muddy outpost, the site of ULI’s property was pitched as a hub for 9 different rail lines that would connect the midwest. The promise of this hub literally put Madison on the map and was instrumental in turning it from a small outpost to a real city.

And that’s where we found the name for the development. Nine Line: an homage to the central role this little site played in making Madison the place we all love.

The Logos

The primary logo takes its cues from train drums, those badge logos on the side of old steam locomotives, and from historical woodcut type.

We also introduced a secondary logo with a quieter, more-refined hand-type touch, intended for private, residential spaces.

The brand language starts with a bold language for publicly marketing the property, featuring clean, contemporary layouts set over vintage details from survey plat maps.

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The Mural

As we moved the brand inside, we introduced branded art and artifacts that quietly celebrate the history of the site.

A mural showcasing historical text describing the moment the first railroad train rumbled into the city right where Nine Line now sits.


Nine Line launched with near complete occupancy and has been a beacon for further development in the neighborhood.

Photo by Mike Rebholz

Quarter Row

Just a stone's throw from Nine Line and nestled in a lot carved out by an arcing rail line, ULI came to Swink as they were embarking on the fourth and final development in the district.

The apartments feature smaller spaces as the new dream home with larger and inviting indoor and outdoor common spaces. We found the name for the project in the shape of the lot — a quarter of a circle — where it also is evocative of the living and sleeping quarters found in those old rail cars.

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The District

ULI also asked us to give a name and identity to the neighborhood itself.

Naming was pretty straightforward for this old rail yards property — The Yards.

The identity takes its cues from typography and details of the Industrial Age, when rail was king. We created multiple badges for use across the neighborhood.

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