The Yarings Building

Rebuilding and rebranding an historic downtown fixture

· 3 min read

We started looking for new office space in 2012 and were lucky enough to find the perfect location in the historic Yarings building. Originally built in the late 1880s, the building is named after Austin’s first department store, Yarings, which was located here from 1936 through the early 1990s. The store was opened by Jacob Schmidt and named for his wife Bertha Yahr. We’ve been told the front part of our office was the furs department.

The Yarings Cosmetic Counter in 1951. Photograph by Neal Douglass, courtesy of the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.


Once we had the building, we were ready to get started on renovating the second floor into a modern office space. We were the first new tenants in a building that had been long vacant, so there was a lot of work to do. We designed an open office with plenty of sunlight, large conference rooms for brainstorming, and a back room that doubles as event space for lectures and our annual SXSW party. All the planning, designing, and construction turned a search for new office space into a year and half labor of love.

Our space under construction. We preserved the original brick walls and floors, and added in a kitchen and break-out rooms.

Rebranding the Building

As part of the renovation process, we were given the opportunity to rebrand the building. We wanted to keep the Yarings name but give it a modern, refreshed look. We created a logo composed of equilateral triangles — an architectural take on the letter Y. They form an extensible system which we used to create wayfinding signage for the different tenants of the building.

We also had the opportunity to create outdoor signage using the building’s awning that faces Congress Avenue. When seen from afar, the name is a prominent feature of the building. As a person gets closer to the building, the awning disappears from view and individual businesses’ names take on greater prominence.

Facing slightly south and west on Congress Avenue.

Home Sweet Home

We moved in during the summer of 2012 and have had a lot of fun continuing to add new features to the office, like the Laurie Frick installation that visitors first see when they enter the lobby. It’s a beautiful space to work in, and we’ve loved hosting events here — everything from AIGA Austin talks to an epic inter-agency ping pong battle. We’re about to celebrate our 3-year anniversary here and hope to spend many more.

The bookcase — stocked with books for inspiration // One of the break-out rooms with a view of Congress Ave. // Up close with the plant wall

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The Garage

Read more about our team’s thoughts and experiments at thirteen23, a digital product studio in Austin, Texas.


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We bridge the space between art and science to build intelligent digital products.

The Garage

Read more about our team’s thoughts and experiments at thirteen23, a digital product studio in Austin, Texas.