Graphic design firm draws up Robinson St. home base

The 903 team, from left: Aaron and Amanda Gibson, Jenn Buch, Blake Cale and David McIntosh. (Jonathan Spiers)

After two years in Scott’s Addition, a local graphic design firm is trading the space it shared with a furniture repair shop for its own digs in a former Fan laundromat.

903 Creative moved last month to 404 N. Robinson St., a 2,300-square-foot space beside Robinson Street Market that previously housed Robinson Street Laundromat.

The five-person team, led by husband and wife Aaron and Amanda Gibson, previously was based in the Harrison Higgins building at 1700 Altamont Ave. The roughly 1,100-square-foot space it freed up now is filled by Fotochrome, a video production firm that was previously next door in Sound of Music Studios’ space.

Aaron Gibson said 903 – an homage to the state route he and Amanda would take when commuting to Richmond from Southside Virginia – had outgrown the space it shared with Harrison Higgins and needed additional space to accommodate future growth.

903 logos will replace the laundromat signage in front of and on the building. (Jonathan Spiers)

“We were in the old showroom of Harrison Higgins Inc., so they were still in that space working too,” he said. “Now we have a space that’s all our own. If someone walks through the front door, we know they’re here to see us and probably not going to be carrying a piece of broken furniture.”

Gibson said they had wanted to stay in Scott’s Addition but were alerted to the Robinson Street space via an email alert from One South Realty Group. Gibson said they signed a five-year lease with property owner Gary Tyer, working with Rebecca von Meister of Taylor Long Properties. One South’s Ann Schweitzer Riley represented Tyer in the transaction.

“We hated to leave Scott’s Addition. We actually looked at several places in the neighborhood but just couldn’t find anything that was a good match with either size or price or style or finish,” Gibson said.

Currently an open room, the space is accentuated with an exposed brick wall on one side and an inoperable industrial-style sliding door on the other. Gibson said he’s talking with firms to upfit the space with partitioned work areas and other additions.

In addition to graphic design, 903’s services include branding, lettering, print design and website design. Clients include Blue Bee Cider, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg, Perch restaurant, men’s clothier Jackson & James, and commercial printer Worth Higgins & Associates.

The new space features an exposed brick wall and an old industrial-style sliding door, no longer operable. (Jonathan Spiers)

The firm handled branding for Vasen Brewing and a rebrand for oddities shop Rest in Pieces. It also worked with Richmond Region Tourism on the recent Change for RVA Schools meals tax campaign.

Originally from Lawrenceville and South Hill, respectively, Aaron and Amanda met at JMU and located in Richmond after commuting several years from South Hill, with Route 903 the first leg of their daily trek.

Joining the Gibsons are studio manager David McIntosh, a VCU alum and former AIGA Richmond president; designer Jenn Buch, a WVU grad and recent Austin, Texas transplant; and designer Blake Cale, a SCAD grad formerly with Circle S Studio.

Gibson said they plan to increase their staff next year, while also upping 903’s local profile.

“The goal is to be more of a player and get a little more on the radar here in Richmond,” he said. “I feel like we’ve been doing good work for 10 years now, and I think we can be a little better about letting people know who we are and what we’re doing.”

903 isn’t alone in trading Scott’s Addition space for Robinson Street. About this time last year, film production company Orange Frame moved from Sound of Music to 205 N. Robinson St.

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