Celebrating the treasure of Austin PBS

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Asterisk helped the beloved local cultural treasure, Austin PBS, make themselves at home in their brand new office and production space in a project that spanned the pandemic and endured a major site flood just days before occupancy. The organization’s move to a new location, after 50 years in their previous space, coincided with the national PBS brand refresh. This serendipitous timing gave Asterisk the freedom to define solutions unique to the local station (originators and stewards of the famed Austin City Limits show and brand) while creating a benchmark space for the parent PBS organization.

The move doubled Austin PBS’ office and production spaces to include a publicly accessible venue for show tapings while offering ample space to host community events and showcase the new brand. The Asterisk team integrated experiential design, signage and wayfinding, and donor recognition with interiors by Studio Steinbomer and Britt Design Group.

The wood slat wall at the grand stair entry pairs a fastidiously integrated PBS logo with a custom “Austin” wordmark — the product of dozens of studies by Asterisk’s typographers — fabricated as a neon cabinet. The two elements collide to honor Austin’s quirky past and serve as a backdrop for visitors’ selfies.

The public areas of the space celebrate the station’s mission and recognize the generous gifts that made the space possible. Asterisk designed the donor recognition program to complement interior materials and details while strategically accommodating the future addition of names.

Design details for brand displays and code-required elements cleverly integrate the values and history of the PBS organization. The bright blue doors that lead to the main recording studio draw visitors through the lobby while a subtle gloss-on-matte paint treatment reflects PBS’ inclusive nature. The Asterisk team partnered with designers from around the globe to translate and typeset the word “welcome” in 10 different writing systems. 

The code-required room signage — colorful, flame polished acrylic that matches the palette of the glass privacy graphics in the office areas — references the gem-like buttons found on broadcast industry equipment. Asterisk also designed custom wall coverings for the public restrooms, some with PBS’ favorite characters, a delightful surprise for visitors of all ages to discover. 

Asterisk’s work with Austin PBS continues with exhibit development focused on the organization’s impact on the Austin community and the greater national PBS audience.

Learn more about Asterisk and the Austin PBS project here:  https://asteriskdesign.com/work/austin-pbs/